That Melbourne Wind

by leahplotz

Oh, so that’s what they mean by Melbourne wind!

Today was windy. In fact, it’s 2am, and through my widow I hear buildings protesting and a hollow wind through the branches.

In Iowa, it was typically windy. It wasn’t a prime landscape to bike, to wear dresses, to cross country ski….etc. My moms car door twice needed repairs because she left it open and a gust came. And that was just the one car. However, it still didn’t occur to me that silence could really envelope a place until (Eastern) Norway.

Whenever it is windy in Oslo, it is practically in the news, and for legit reasons. It IS annoying, not because (we’re) simply not used to it, but because it disrupts life so much more. We DO walk and bike everywhere, wear flowy skirts, and cross country ski! I am reliant on umbrellas most days and if it is windy, I can’t use one.

Faced with packing a suitcase for Melbourne, two things were made clear to me: it rains a lot, and is windy.

I am not convinced that Melbourne is rainy. In fact, any Melburnian will tell you that New South Wales and Queensland have a higher average daily rainfall percentage (or something) than Melbs. I’m not quite convinced that it is all that windy in Melbourne, either. This is the second or third night I can recall where the winds here were so….well, Iowan.

Two things stick out at this point: that Melb gets these bad raps for the simple reason that they actually have such natural occurrences. I suppose ‘everyone else’ living here are all from places where wind and rain rarely occur. Of course, I’m sure some snowbirds like myself laugh. Just to keep the balance. 😉

Winter WAS long and hard and as equally depressing, actually. It’s just because society has that same mindset of: “it’s cold, it’s miserable, get me home to a cuppa tea.” So since spring is hopping along, we are all much more open to life and smiling. Laughter comes easier and Melb is suddenly alive again.

One question I cannot answer is one I got just the other day.

A customer I had was from Brasil. He was a lovely guy although felt cold at 18C. I laughed and told him winter was weird here because, given my background, I expect snow and all we got was some rain. After a slight pause, he looked at me with pure sincerity and curiosity and wonderment in his voice and eyes, and said “why would you miss the snow?”

I am still speechless at his sincerity in the question. He truly could not understand the crunch of the boots, the silence of it falling gently on the street, or the way it lights up a dark night. He does not know the way snow can change a landscape overnight, or bring such joy to a Labrador or child. In that same sense, we cannot separate ourselves from the environments in which we know intuitively. We can grow to know others, but I for one still cannot embrace the desert like I can the winds. When it rains, I still hope for a thunderstorm. And when it is windy in Melbourne, I pull my hair back, and leave the umbrella at home.