Jacaranda tree, August 2010
A lone seed pod clings to the top of the jacaranda tree in our front yard.

This morning I was awakened by the roar of the motorway penetrating my pillow. I sleep with my head under the pillow, so this means that the traffic noise was quite loud, which meant that the Westerlies have arrived.

The wind from the west arrives to southeast Queensland every August, bringing dust and germs from the outback and giving a good whack of the population what is known as the Ekka flu because the resulting viruses are shared by all the crowds that attend the Brisbane Show locally known as the Ekka.

(This is a typical example of Australian slang. It took me years to understand how you could shorten “Royal Brisbane Show” into “Ekka”, but apparently this has to do with the original title of Brisbane Exhibition. Get it? Exhibition —> Ekka. Yeah, not so obvious.)

The Westerlies herald my least-favourite time of the year. It’s still technically winter and the wind brings back the chill. The breeze keeps us inside instead of out in the bright sun, and leaves constantly blow from the trees onto our verandahs, our roof and even inside the house.

I hate hearing the amplified motorway noise which is barely noticeable the rest of the year (“Imagine it’s the ocean breaking on the shore,” David says) but the traffic’s roaring reminds me that we are still stuck in suburbia, and we’ve been determined to leave for at least two years.

In the Bible, God directed a strong wind from the west to blow away the locust plague that he was using to demonstrate his power to Pharaoh and the Egyptians before he took the Israelites into the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. As I ponder this, I pray that these local Westerlies will blow away the parasites in our lives, so that we, too, may soon be on our way to the Promised Land.