The constellations Cetus and Eridanus appear in the eastern night sky followed, as the season progresses, by Taurus and the Pleiades. In southern Australia this is early summer; warm, even hot in the day, but still quite chilly at night. Many trees and shrubs are in flower and the song of cicadas heralds the imminent summer. Birds are feeding their young and mountain pygmy possums give birth. In the north, it is the 'build up', the time of the pre-monsoon storms, characterised by hot, cloudy, humid weather, flickering lightning and intermittent rain. When the first rains fall, the dry earth rapidly becomes green, frogs are heard croaking, and the land regenerates after the fires of the previous dry season. Wallabies and tree kangaroos give birth, and estuarine crocodiles and turtles begin nesting.
Meditation: Like a cicada who leaves behind its brown underworld shell, as the weather warms up we eagerly strip off our winter coverings to reveal an invigorated summer self. Unveiled, pale-skinned, singing of the green season which will be over all too soon, we venture out to greet the sunlight. This is a time to make offerings to tree spirits, to listen to the earth, and to celebrate the life force. Scarab-like, the cicada symbolises the eternally returning sun-cycle, his shell a talisman of infinity.