Limit of Heat: Rice ripens

March 5th, 2012
by Jo Law

Excess water has once again made headlines news in the past week. The river systems in southern New South Wales and northern Victoria swelled and flooded as a result of the recent heavy rainfall. Residents in Goulburn, Gundagai, the Riverina, and other northern Victorian towns were forced to evacuate from the inundation of water. The deluge is a little less dramatic on the northern Illawarra coast, although water has seeped in some areas of our house. The moist environment has also given access for the outdoor creatures to move indoors, like the leech that Redmond encountered in the shower.

Compared to the total rainfall of 311.3mm recorded at Bellambi in the past month, Febrary 2010 only totalled a 137.4mm. At the end of that month, we were to wait another 28 days before meeting Hollis. In 2009, the total rainfall of February was 114.4mm. At that time, Erina, the last Japanese exchange student who stayed with us, had just left after her month’s stay in Wollongong to return to Saitama, the prefecture that borders the north of Tokyo.

When rice ripened in the northern hemisphere’s autumn of 2008 (or when the pampas grass went to seeds in Japan), we arrived in Tokyo for the first time. The five posts in the Autumn Almanac of Tokyo fell under Limit of Heat or Shosho. They described a warm, humid, and wet Tokyo. On our second night in the city, we were caught in a sudden downpour in Shinjuku while finding a place to eat. Regular typhoons and rain were last well into October.

Recently, I have started re-reading Liza Dalby’s East Wind Melts the Ice, which inspired the structure of the Almanac projects. I am reminded of the importance of marking time. My own wish to take note of the minute details of the everyday is, in some way, an attempt to slow down time, which I seem to be chronically short of, of late.


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