Although May's federal election result has enduringly warmed the heart and other giblets, the result was followed by a June fortnight of extremity-numbing, scrotum-shrivelling cold.
That first fortnight of this winter gave eastern Australia the coldest temperatures for ages. In a song, Shakespeare famously accuses the winter wind of being "unkind" and of having "teeth" but here in the federal capital city winter winds can seem not so much unkind as callous and to have not so much teeth as fangs.
Last June's bleak fortnight was the federal capital city's most callous winter opening since the Olden Days of 1964, with the temperature never rising above 12 degrees.
In June 1964 the Beatles and Elvis Presley dominated Australia's hit parade and Australia's federal parliament was dominated by ye olde Sir Robert Menzies.
And in that same June of 1964 and in a windswept seaside town in England a flaxen-haired youth in his late teens (destined to become this elderly columnist) was counting the sleeps until the following January he could leave for Australia. He had been lured by the migrant-beguiling promise of Australia's constant sunshine and sunny warmth. Material sent to him by the artful Australia House portrayed lucky Australians as a basking people, the women seldom wearing anything but bikinis.
To this day (and as I write the temperature in Canberra is 0 degrees with birds staring forlornly at the ice on my garden's bird baths) the fact of eastern Australia's winter coldness can still, somehow, bewilder and surprise migrants who first thought of/dreamed of Australia as somewhere perennially warm and glowing.
This very week the news brings stories of Australians struggling to keep their homes bearably warm in this winter of sharp-fanged cold and of soaring energy prices. Monday's Radio National Breakfast program featured a story, Australian houses so cold they're making people sick.
And yet Canberra's Yakutskian winter weather (forgive your columnist's hyperbolic comparison of the weather of Yakutsk in Siberia with the weather of this federal capital city on the Limestone Plains) is not all a thing of horror.
I haunt the National Arboretum where, presently, the deciduous forests are giving fabulous displays of what an English poet called "the naked magic of the winter tree".
Nowhere in Canberra feels as wintry than the Arboretum's bare forests, these nudist colonies. We look at the trees' woody nudity on their windswept hillsides and imagine our own shivering nudity in so wintry a place.
One expanse of the Arboretum where forests of four deciduous species, including Horse Chestnuts, are cheek-by-jowl neighbours is presently a grand sculpture garden of magically naked trees.
Spanish poet Eugenio Montejo has a melancholy poem, Winter trees cough like old men. Montejo's winter trees are all coughing themselves to death.
Much as I admire Montejo's poem, I cannot find anything about the Arboretum's bare winter trees suggestive of coughing, COVID-afflicted old men each with one foot in the grave.
Rather, one has only to do a little close interviewing of any one of the Arboretum's naked-in-winter trees to discover that it is already quietly girding up its bony-for-the-moment loins in certain anticipation of the next spring and summer.
As I write, the tips of the branchlets of the elegantly naked Horse Chestnuts turn out to be festooned with chocolate-coloured bulbous buds. They even look a little phallic - but perhaps that's just me.
When I first fell utterly in love with the Arboretum it was because, deeply depressed by the absence of the prospect of a change of federal government, the ever-changing nature of the trees of the Arboretum was a soul-buoying thing.
Liberal governments feel as if they last, monotonously, for ever. By contrast trees, nudged and inspired by the seasons, are forever changing, shape-shifting, having a rattlingly good winter season of nude frolics then trying on new costumes, buds one day, leaves the next, flowers the day after that, fruits the day after that.
There is a busy eventfulness about the lives of trees that makes human lives feel monotonous. And not only monotonous but pitifully short, too.
The Horse Chestnuts of the Arboretum may live to give 300 displays of their winter magic. Meanwhile those of us haunting the Arboretum this winter are unlikely to live long enough to see the racist permafrost in conservative Australian hearts melt to enable the acceptance of the Uluru Statement From The Heart.
Ian Warden is a Canberra Times columnist
Ian Warden is a Canberra Times columnist
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.