The seasons have changed in Maputo, the sun suddenly setting a full hour earlier than what I remember from the summer months. Although rationally I know it happens one minute at a time, it seems as if someone snapped their fingers and suddenly the sun changed its schedule from retiring at 7pm to disappearing at 6pm.
It's not just the number of daylight hours, the light is different, too. More filtered, less intense. Wholly different from the scorching days at the beginning of the year when one can't stand to be in the direct sun for more than 10 minutes. Now the weather is perfect, warm and mild, though for some reason it makes me sad. Something about the retreating days of summer, a reminder that time is passing and that we will never be able to relive this period again.
I notice other changes, too. The jacarandas, which were in full bloom in November, are now heavy with green seed pods. In a short time, the streets will be littered with these seeds, brown and dry and ready to be joined with the soil. I particularly notice the jacarandas because I would watch the lilac blossoms fall from a tree outside the veterinarian's office when Parceiro was dying. I would meditate on those flowers, ask for some divine intervention that might save our cat. It wasn't meant to be, sadly, but I will forever associate the jacaranda blooms with our gray baby. We were at the vet's on Friday to have the little ones vaccinated, and I noticed the tree that was the focus of my attention for those three long days, now full of seeds and completely absent of the clusters of lilac I so remembered.
In a few short months, there will be another change in the seasons and we will actually feel cold. Granted a mild version of cold compared to true frigid climates, but cold for us nonetheless. I will wear my sheepskin slippers and snuggle under a blanket while watching tv. We will sip hot chocolate and, on particularly chilly days, even wear scarves and jackets.
Right now winter seems at once an eternity away and just around the corner. Time is funny like that.