The cold and wet season, or the season of fertility
Makaru sees the coldest and wettest time of the year come into full swing, as the winds turn to the west and south bringing the cold weather, rains and occasionally even snow on the peaks of the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges.
This season aligns roughly with June-July on the contemporary calendar, but there is never a perfect alignment and this year is no exception, with snow on Bluff Knoll being recorded for the first time in more than eight months during late May!
Traditionally, this was a good time of the year to move back inland from the coast and stay warm in the mia mia (shelter) next to the karl/kaarla (fire). As the waterways and catchments start to fill, people were able to move about their country with ease and so their food sources changed from sea, estuarine and lake foods to protein rich land animals, in particular the grazing animals such as the yonga (kangaroo). As well as a food source, animals provided people with many other things. For example, yonga not only provided meat but also bookas (animal skin cloaks that were used as the nights became much cooler). Nothing was left; even the bones and sinews were used in the manufacturing of bookas and for hunting tools such as gidji (spears), miro (spear throwers) and kodj (axes).
Nowadays, we coastal dwellers have the option to stay where we are but we still aren’t straying far from the warmth and shelter of indoors when it’s raining sideways!
Makuru is also a time for a lot of animals to be pairing up in preparation for breeding in the coming season. If you look carefully, you might now see pairs of waardongs (crows) flying together. You may also notice these pairs are not making their usual ‘ark ark arrrrrk’ call that these birds are well known for when flying solo. Upon the lakes and rivers of the South West, you’ll also start to see a large influx of the marlee (black swan) as they too prepare to nest and breed.
Flowers that will start to emerge include the blues and purples of the mangaard or blueberry lilly (Dianella revoluta) and komma or purple flag (Patersonia occidentalis).
As the season comes to a close, you should also start to notice the white flowers of the wannang, or weeping peppermint (Agonis flexuosa), and the flooded gum (Eucalyptus rudis), as the blues start to make way for the white and cream flowers of Djilba.
Don’t let the sometimes rough weather of Makuru stop you from getting out on Country, especially if you live on the coast. There’s so much to see and there’s nothing quite so exhilarating as watching the storm clouds roll in, hearing the waves crash on the shore and feeling the wind on your face.