THE end of another Bathurst winter will be welcomed by all but the most masochistic of locals.
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Every June, July and August is challenging in this city, but there does seem to have been an unusual amount of bitter muttering about the Central Tablelands winter of 2022.
If Bathurst had a dollar for every local who'd declared this as one of the worst cold seasons they'd experienced, the city could probably afford to buy some cheap land out in sunny central Queensland and set up a new community there, where -5 mornings, seven-degree days and mid-afternoon birdbath icebergs would be nothing but a terrible memory.
But the truth of the matter is that the winter is to Bathurst what the summer is to Broken Hill, the plains are to Hay, the mountains are to Coonabarabran and the border is to Albury: it shapes us, defines us and corrals us.
The long, cold months of this time of year send Bathurst inside to rest, recuperate and contemplate; to daydream and imagine.
While our yards go into hibernation and the lawn mower takes a break, we do the same. While the vege garden is dormant, we can allow ourselves to follow its lead.
And when the weather is really brutal - when our tally of single-figure days for the month is in the double figures - we can make ourselves feel better by shaking our head in impotent fury and asking why anyone in their right mind would put up with this.
But we do put up with it. We live here willingly.
And our reward begins now - as the winter lifts and the temperature starts to edge towards the magical 20 degrees mark for the first time since May.
Our days have been lengthening for some time now and the weather will soon give us a reason to take advantage of it - to go for a long walk after work or to spend a bit of time in the backyard.
Some will already be looking ahead to the opening of the outdoor pool at the Manning Aquatic Centre. Others will be planning a Sunday afternoon backyard barbecue - complete with frosty drinks, covered in condensation, that have been pulled from an obscenely big bucket of ice.
American country music icon and part-time philosopher Dolly Parton reckoned if you wanted to have the rainbow, you had to put up with the rain.
In Bathurst, if you want to have the spring, you have to fight your way through the winter.
And we've done that now.
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