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Sydney's Telltale Signs of Summer

By Russellvjward @russellvjward
The rhythms and eddies of Sydney's seasons come and go, as regular as the tides that sweep the beaches around the harbor city.
After several years here, I think I have finally grown accustomed to the signals that a new season is approaching. Whilst the onset of spring is much less pronounced than in the flowering southern counties of my family home in England, the arrival of a Sydney summer is heralded by a number of telling signs throughout the city, the first being the start of the fun running season.

Sydney's telltale signs of summer

Nearly there.  Image: Flick Creative Commons Calebo

Beginning in August with the world's largest fun run, the City2Surf, before moving to the Northern Beaches' Pub2Pub charity race, the amateur runner then heads back to the city for the Harbour Bridge run and half marathon in late September. These races typically occur under a late winter sun and have come to symbolise a seasonal transformation in Sydney as winter jackets are removed and lightweight running vests adorned.
The 14km City2Surf follows a tortuous route from the center of the city to the world famous Bondi Beach. More than 60,000 runners participate and the race often starts on a cold early morning before finishing on a characteristically sunny climax next to the beach. The race typifies Sydney's farewell to winter and transition through to summer as the kilometres wind down.

Sydney's telltale signs of summer

The Bondi finish.  Image: Flickr Creative Commons Brian Giesen

Sport reveals another telltale sign of summer's arrival in Sydney with the rugby seasons coming to a close and the sporting chatter turning to all-things cricket and watersports. With the rugby union and league finals on the near horizon, footy fever will die off in the many beach suburbs of Sydney and attention will turn to a number of ocean-based activities, from the surf ironman series to openwater kayak ocean racing plus twilight sail competitions on the harbor.

Sydney's telltale signs of summer

Budding frangipanis.  Image: Flickr Creative Commons Swami Stream

A change of a more gentile nature and pace will also take place across the city over the coming days and weeks, and one which is a personal favorite of mine. The beautiful frangipani bushes, after lying dormant and leafless for the past few months, will begin to bud and develop the most beautiful scented flowers. As the shrub metamorphises into an irridescent beauty, the air around Sydney's streets and walkways will fill with the delicious, heady smell of these photogenic little wonders.
The jacaranda trees will also flower, first shedding their yellowing leaves before sprouting a stunning display of purple that will appear in every nook and cranny of the city for the next month before carpeting the streets with millions of little purple flowers. At this time of year, it is a perfectly pleasant surprise to look out my office window at a sea of purple trees spreading across Sydney's inner west as far as the eye can see and it is a constant reminder that summer is just around the corner.

Sydney's telltale signs of summer

Jacarandas in Sydney.  Flickr Creative Commons Chillitpv

Before I know it the clocks will change, daylight savings will begin, and summer will be knocking at my front door. Sydneysiders will happily peel off their clothing in favour of a much smaller, more revealing attire. Meanwhile, the repetitive drone of the cicadas will commence. The spiders will make my garden their home. My pup, Milo, will hide away in a dark corner of the house. The oppressive heat will arrive and settle in for the duration. 
It's not so bad. Summer, after all, is what attracts many of us to this fair land. I have enjoyed this year's brief Sydney winter and the welcome respite from that persistently hot summer sun, but now it's time to take out my trusted coconut oil, dust off those manly black Speedos, don my little straw sombrero, and head down to the local beach because, summer, here I come.
Are you ready for Sydney's summer sun? Would you like to borrow a little coconut oil?
Or are the long, desperate, drawn-out, dark and bitterly cold winter months fast approaching in your neck of the woods? ;)

Sydney's telltale signs of summer

Ah, summer is on its way.  Image: Flickr Creative Commons Jack Parkinson

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