I have been learning about the Aboriginal seasons here in Western Australia - of which there are SIX.
The traditional FOUR seasons that we know of - Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter - are said to have been 'imported' from the 'Northern Hemisphere' and don’t 'fit' in with what actually happens with the WA climate and the land.
The local indigenous people of WA are called the Nyoongar people and their knowledge of ‘country’ spans back ten's of thousands of years.
According to the Nyoongar calendar, August and September in WA are known as First Spring - and winter is officially over! Actually winter only lasts for 2 months here - and that’s June and July!
Djilba is described as a ‘transitional time of the year’ when yellow and cream flowers start blooming and the birds and animals start producing offspring - and hence they call it ‘the season of conception’.
During traditional times, the aborignal people would still have lived more in-land during this season surviving on land based grazing animals - similar to the winter season before of Makuru. These food sources included the Yongar (kangaroo), the Waitj (emu) and the Koomal (possum).
Weather-wise, Djilba is a real mixed bag from very cold and clear days to warmer, rainy and windy days and the occasional sunny day or two.
And I can totally relate to all of that. Actually I’d say that so far August has been a total hotchpotch of feeling freezing one moment, hearing the rain battering the ground in another moment and then swapping to being clear blue skies, sunshine and 20 degrees in another!
I guess it's a bit like an Irish summer ha ha - you still have to dress for all-seasons though with warm layers - but don’t forget your sunnies either!
As the days start to warm up, you’ll start to see and hear the first of the newborn animals with their parents, out and about foraging for food. The woodland birds will still be nest bound and we’ve seen plenty of pairs of white cockatoos, parrots and kookaburras shouting loudly in trees during our weekend walks recently.
It’s also the season to watch out for ‘swooping birds’ - particularly the Koolbardi (Magpie). We see lots of warning signs around for this, as the magpies are known to literally swoop down on you if they think they are under attack! This is a known protective behavior of the Koolbardi and also of the Djidi Djidi (Willy Wag Tails) and the Chuck-A-Luck (Wattle Birds) at this time of year.
Djilba is the season for mainly yellow and cream flowers coming out and a season of ‘massive flowering explosion’. WA is famous for its wildflowers and Djilba starts with yellow flowering plants like the Acacias - commonly known as mimosa, acacia, thorntree or wattle.
I have been able to see this on our walks with the amazing yellow wattle plants appearing in full bloom. When you see their fluffy-like blossoms contrasted against the starker green and ochre colours of the bush, it's a really bright eye-opener.
Its also a delicious sweet smell. It reminds me a little of an Irish gorse bush only the wattle looks round and fluffy rather than spikey like gorse.
I’ve also spotted lots of creamy white freesia growing low lying in the grass.
Freesia always remind me of mum who loves them and would often have a vase of freesia in the middle of the kitchen table.
However I recently learnt that here they are considered to be a weed here - lol - and described as a ‘garden escapee’! I'm not so sure mum would agree with that! They're still beautiful and smell divine!
Mixed in with the yellow and cream flowers, Dijiba provides some vivid and striking blue florals, although I have to say I’m seeing more bright pink-purples than blues in my photographs.
And as the season progresses and the temperatures continue to rise, flower stalks of the Balgas - commonly known as Grass Trees - will start to emerge in preparation for the coming Kambarang season.
The Grass Trees fascinate me with their tall and abundant spikey bright green tendrils that sway in the breeze. They remind me of huge fans, almost umbrella like in shape. So I look forward to seeing what they produce in the months ahead.
I would normally associate the colour green with spring - especially coming from Ireland when spring (in April) was the time for new green leaves and young green floral shoots to appear. However this blast of bright yellowness sure brings a ray of sunshine in to look at, and lifts the spirits.
These yellow images are a new addition to my colour palette.
Although I have always loved taking pictures of the sea shore with its yellow sandy beaches, the ‘colour yellow’ has not traditionally been part of my photographic repertoire. My eye tends to migrate towards the blues, pinks and purples.
So ‘seeing yellow’ is a bright change!
In terms of using yellow stones in my jewellery - we could choose yellow diamonds and sapphires, that would be fabulous. Or we could look at yellow beryls, tourmalines, zircons and citrines.
Of course I have always favoured using yellow gold in my jewellery, so actually my pieces are awash with the colour yellow!