Cape Town seems to be stuck in one of those in-between moments, where it’s not quite summer anymore but not quite winter yet – and no, it’s definitely not what I would call autumn. In stark contrast to the northern hemisphere, autumn and spring aren’t really evident seasons here – it’s more of a hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, BOOM, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold kind of thing. But, then again, this is also the city were all seasons are likely to occur in one day. And now it’s just moved to the state where it’s a different season every few days, moving from glorious summer sunshine one day to wind and pouring rain the next.
At the moment, we’re in one of those ‘does the sun even exist behind these clouds?’ stages. The sun doesn’t rise early in the morning. It doesn’t seem to rise at all, only peeks out every now and then between the showers of rain to show us what we’re missing. It’s cruel. But, that said, there are many nice things to do when it’s cold, dark, and pouring with rain. Like crawling back into bed and hibernating until the warmer days come back, soaking up books, and indulging in hot chocolate.
But, alas, it seems that hibernation isn’t really the proper way of doing things in the real world, and so we drag ourselves out of the cosiness of our covers and enter into battle with nature’s elements. I grew up in Namibia, where winter temperatures may drop to below freezing at night, but average in the early 20s (that’s about 68+ degrees Fahrenheit) during the day. Now that’s a nice way to spend winter – walking around with only a thin jacket, feeling the sun kiss your skin and toasting your body. Up until last year, I said goodbye to Cape Town for the coldest months and roasted in the sun back home. Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time adjusting to the rain.
But, I’ve also spent winters in Europe and the USA. I swear it’s warmer there. Sure, the coldest Cape Town winter temperature I can remember was about 11 degrees Celcius (about 51 degrees Fahrenheit), but we don’t have central heating. And jackets and boots that actually keep out the cold and rain? Almost impossible to find. And we don’t have snow, so there’s nothing to get excited about.
Nonetheless, there is something magical about days like these – everything seems calm and peaceful, the rain washing away all the dirt and grime (literally and metaphorically) to reveal a brighter world when it does eventually stop. Waterfalls form all over Table Mountain and it’s a joy spotting them once the mountain peeps out from under the clouds. And as Cape Town is characterised by winter rain, everything becomes greener and more alive. So maybe there is some magic in these cold and rainy days.
But I might just be tempted to test that hibernation-with-hot-chocolate theory until the sun comes out again. Just in case.