Bush Kids

Children and Nature

In the Tropics

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An extremely hot ‘wet season’ has accompanied us as we adjusted to our stint back in the Tropics. During what is reported to be the hottest wet season on record, Darwin has experienced negative rainfall — more atmospheric evaporation than downpour due to the exceptionally hot conditions. The daily temperatures are mostly around 36 degrees, with a heat index (factoring in the intense humidity) of around 42 degrees. Whilst we have had some impressive wet season cloud build up and sweltering humidity, the monsoon – which brings such cooling welcome relief and respite – was no where to be seen. It’s been a Wet without a wet.

Staying cool in these conditions is a challenge. For my mountain kids, adjusting to the relentless heat has made for plenty of red raced irritability and exhaustion. Nights are only a degree or two cooler than the day time temperatures, and this has added another excuse to the kids’ repertoire of why they can’t get to sleep at bedtime….’it’s too hot to sleep’. It’s true, even a sheet feels hot.

Cold showers, icy water, and many many swims in the pool are essential to lower core body temperatures. We go from the pool to underneath the ceiling fans and back to the pool, then repeat, repeat, repeat. Then another swim or cool shower before bedtime. Nightswims in the dark are one of our very favourite things.

But there are also spectacular coloured sunsets, and lime and papaya and pineapple and rambutan. Skies lit by lightning, the smell of jasmine and frangipani, and the plaintiff sound of curlews calling at night. Living close to the equator is sticky and sweaty, specially when the rains don’t come. But different places always have new sights sounds and smells to offer, and this tropical town is a sensory feast.

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