In our initial exploration of this walking place, the intense heat of the morning sun provides a none-too-gentle reminder of the wild weather times in which we live. The presence of the sculpture ‘Ngaraka: Shrine for the lost Koori’ (Mundine and Foley, 2001) also reminds us that while we only pass through this place briefly, the process of weathering continues unabated. The rusty red steel frame and bleached kangaroo bones beneath attest to the ‘weathering’ wrought by sun, rain, wind and cold. At the same time, I reflect that this is not only the ‘weathering’ of erosion, corrosion and decay, but ‘weathering’ as resilience and a lively continuing of peoples, stories, memories and materials that linger and move through this place along with the ever-changing elemental conditions.
The relationship between humans and weather is complex. It is easy to think of the weather as somehow external to us, or something that happens ‘to us’, when we venture outdoors. Tim Ingold (2007) challenges the idea that humans and weather can be neatly distinguished from each other, by proposing instead that we are part of a ‘weather world’, mingling with the elements in ways that are inseparable. Over the coming months I plan to engage with new ways of thinking about children’s relations with the weather. By walking in this place with a small group of children, parents, educators and researchers, I am interested in exploring questions such as: How might we attune more closely to the everyday affects of the weather? Are there ways that we can think about human/weather relations that could open up new pedagogical possibilities for environmental education in early childhood settings? And how might our immediate weather experience provide insights into the wider challenges of climate change? Given that humans are deeply implicated in the changing climatic patterns the world is experiencing, these questions are also posed within an ethics of responsibility to better understand our own part within the ‘weather world’.