Weather

Today is the hottest day this Spring so far. According to the internet, it hit 39 degrees (celcius) about 25km away. We’re usually just a little hotter, so I’m guessing that we may have been about 40 degrees here. And it’s only October.

We’ve done hot. For years we lived in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia, so we really know what hot is. One year, we arrived back in our little town, 300km inland from the coast on the 28th of December, and it was 48 degrees. (118 degrees for those of you still using Fahrenheit). It was 40 degrees every day until March. It was the hottest, driest summer we’d ever experienced in our sixteen years in the Pilbara.

Maybe that’s why I like winter so much. Now that we live the Hunter Valley in NSW, we experience all four seasons each year – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. In the Pilbara it was Summer and Winter. Winter lasted about six weeks and on either side of winter was about six weeks of absolute perfection. The only problem was the lack of rain.

Why am I writing about weather? Well today was hot, so I got thinking. When I built the world of Frontier, one of the features was the weather. The enormous storms of Frontier were based on our experiences of cyclones in the Pilbara. It was one of those moments when ‘write what you know’ was a good plan – I can describe the experience of cyclonic winds because I’ve sat through a real cyclone inside a house, watching the windows bend (a somewhat frightening experience) and the roof lift as the wind gusted and the rain blew horizontally.

Weather shapes our experiences and our lives. The daily temperature determines what we wear, and how we build, and what we do. It determines what we can grow and what leisure activities we indulge in. It shapes our world and our shorelines, and makes our travel perilous. It’s an almighty force.

At the moment I’m writing another story, based in space. So far weather hasn’t featured, because everything so far has taken place inside a spaceship. It’s sort of weird, and of course I’ve never been inside a spaceship except in my imagination, so this time I’m not ‘writing what I know’ but making pretty well everything up. We’ll see how that goes…

Anyway, it’s still hot, and the whole week is forecast to be hot. I’m hoping it’s not a hint of true summer – which doesn’t arrive for another six weeks. Winter – come back!

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