October is mercurial. Serene, warm days wrestle with days that bring ice-winds and darkness and memories of Polanski's Macbeth. It seems an early Summer feel has been shunned yet again. Still, Spring has brought Channel-billed and Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Shining Bronze-cuckoos, Common Koels and Black-faced Monarchs, those migrants I look forward to hearing in Sep-Oct each year. The local male Satin Bowerbird is renovating his north-south aligned bower with blue bottle tops, blue feathers, blue Lego pieces (!) and blue magic, then dancing and whistling to attract a mate.
Last Thursday, the world was bursting with cicada hymns and for the next few days I had cicadas the colour of oil and curry (Yellow Mondays: great name; saves a Monday from being blue or manic or disliked) lying upside down in the middle of roads, dead and eaten by ants, buzzing in trees, staggering from their birth-shells like wounded knights and on my jumper as brooches. My young boy is scared of them. Cicadas are our sun heralds, telling us that heat and a time of winding down is on the way. Our years, and perhaps our Australian identities, would crack without them.
Lorne Johnson, October 2010