Canberra (Australia) – Waiting for spring, waiting for Covid to come to the national capital, waiting for vaccines for young adults and kids. Waiting.
In the lull before the coronavirus arrived in town, I bought some native plants to create a
fire hazard woody grassland on the nature strip (aka footpath) out the front of my place (no photos as the plants are too small). I then spent the rest of the month trying to keep cars from driving over my babies. I was also preoccupied mosaicing on a few sunny days. Consequently, I did not stock up on groceries. I also spent time worrying about the growing coronavirus case numbers in New South Wales and Victora (Australia). And, of course, waiting.
While we waited, late winter bloomers (japonica, native ant orchid*, wattle) heralded the turning of the season.
While we waited, small birds arrived in numbers travelling the green corridors between suburbs and streets. The spotted pardalotes (male left, female right) were particularly brave this year. Aussies, I think I will vote for the spotted pardalote for Bird of the Year. And, you?
While we waited, Ama aced her health check. Woohoo!
Little did we know, Delta was already in Canberra. It burst onto the scene, spreading from Sydney to surrounding regions, including to regions where health services are lacking, as well as into Canberra and other states. The local Canberra government swiftly shut down mingling, but maybe Delta can’t be stopped? We wait to find out. The lecturing has begun from the national and New South Wales (Sydney) governments for the whole country to enjoy our freedom living with Delta. In the meantime, Canberrans stayed home (except for those hardware shopping), working and getting hairier.
Maybe fatter too? We are permitted one hour per day outdoor exercise. Still, that is an incentive to get a move on, almost putting a spring in our step.
As August faded, so did our initial optimism, but hope remains. As September arrives, we wait again. For warmth (careful what we wish for). For the arrival of more mRNA vaccines for younger people. Some young people, like my two sons, have opted for the Vaxzevria (formerly known as AstraZeneca), but it will be a long wait before they are fully covered. [Top L-R: Ironbark, Magnolia. Bottom: Déjà View (joke).]
There is little that inspires me these days, except for those marvelous Paralympians and all the health care workers out there. Three cheers for the Paralympians and health care workers, everyone.
This month has left me dismayed by Australia’s slow vaccination program, the current Delta outbreak in our communities and the mounting pressures on health systems. I am worried that we might not achieve even a lowly 50% of the Australian population fully vaccinated before Delta explodes in other parts of the country. I am concerned about the threat this is posing to vulnerable First Nations’ communities where vaccination rates lag the general population, and I am also anxious about the financial, employment, educational and health impacts on young people. I am horrified by the national government’s unwaivering support and public largess for new gas projects in contravention of the best scientific advice (and presumably international security advice) available. I am also disappointed by the Australian government’s treatment of Afghan refugees and our unwillingness to increase our refugee intake in the lead up to our withdrawal from Afghanistan. For the first time in my life I am glad that I am getting old. How good was your August?
Apart from that, and the Delta outbreak in Canberra, it has been a good month. I want to offer my commiserations to the staff and students (and their families) of Lyneham High, especially those in the band program, who have been badly affected by cases at their school. I have a soft spot for Lyneham High. It is notable that Canberra’s Chief Minister was a former student of Lyneham High. Hooray for public education! Finally, I would like to thank everyone in Canberra who is working toward bringing our Covid numbers back to zero community transmission.
This is my response to “The Changing Seasons” photo challenge, which is currently being hosted by the lovely Ju-Lyn (Touring My Backyard) and Brian (Bushboys World). Ju-Lyn and Brian are taking it in turns to host this challenge. This month it is Ju-Lyn’s turn. Check out her lovely post to see how you can participate in the challenge.
Wherever you are today, I hope the world is treating you kindly. Stay safe, stay strong. Get your advice on vaccines from your doctor and have a good September.
*Ant orchids are native to Western Australia. My son is babysitting a pot of them for a scientist friend.