Promised rain

Furnace winds lash at the flesh you left exposed in the hope of staying cool. News voices report fiery devastation as you lose your temper, swatting at the persistent fly that lands on your arm before darting off to walk across your sandwich.

37c, 8:25pm. Waiting for the rain.

37c, 8:25pm. Waiting for the rain.

The wind has dried your bread, sharpening its edges, like toast, but without the delicious flavour. The wilted lettuce and the plastic cheese slice you so guilty-pleasurely love are now too unappealing to eat.

Slowly, the sky darkens with clouds dusted in dirt. Above them hover bruise-coloured clouds, roiling with water. The wind blasts them across the sky, occasionally loosing fat droplets that spatter against the concrete and bitumen that bore the brunt of the day’s 43 degree heat. The scent of it sends a thrill of excitement through you, the promise of water, and of wind that cooled you, instead of cracking your lips and killing your lawns.

It falls heavily, seeming almost relieved to have reached its oblivion; its destruction, as it shatters against its impact with earth. Those fat droplets coax smiles from humans and stretches from cats, but before either of you get to enjoy it, the sky dries up and the wind goes to sleep.

The only sounds you hear are the crickets, humming lightly in the background of the air-conditioner, roaring at its coldest setting. The sound is comforting, like memories of childhood Boxing Days, sneaking in to watch the horror movies grampa would have cloistered himself in the living room to watch; his attempt to escape the deafening roar of (mostly) female family members catching up over casks of wine.

In those days, the weather outside was much like it is now, the only difference being that their air-conditioner was better than this one. Impatiently, we would wipe the backyard-cricket-induced sweat from our foreheads, or pick our swimming costumes out of our bums, desperately awaiting that promised cool change.

Rainbow!

Rainbow!

It hasn’t arrived yet, but that’s okay.

That tiny little reprieve-shower gave us a rainbow, so that’s awesome too.

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That sweet summer burn

10am and already the heat of the Central West summer has warmed the gum trees, filling the air with a mild eucalyptus smell.

The sun is sharp, biting into your shoulders and making your hair hot enough to boil water. Bees, wasps, flies and spiders invade homes and backyard barbecues, while cats and dogs loll about in the cool dirt beneath the trees.

Nowhere is safe to traverse barefoot without risking third degree burns to the soles of your feet. Even the grass is warm and tired between your toes, thirsting for an evening sprinkler session.

Today, the temperature in my little town is going to reach 44°C (111.2°F) while a large percentage of the country is still aflame. I don’t think you can call this a heat wave in my town. This is what every summer used to be like while I was growing up, and this dry, intense heat is preferable to the sticky, wet humidity the last few years have brought us.

As an ex-goth, my love of this sunshine is something quite new.

Gone are the days where I would be cloaked in black, my feet burning inside my knee high boots, a lather of sweat melting the heavy makeup slapped onto my face and dread filling me each time I had to step outside.

Now I have a thong tan (the shoe kind, thanks) and spend entire days in maxi dresses or my swimsuit. I haven’t brushed my hair properly in weeks and couldn’t tell you the last time I wore makeup.

While most people are closeted in their homes, lounging beneath fans or air-conditioners, I’m happy to sit outside, watching the birds and insects flit from tree to tree and flower to flower.

Tomorrow I return to those restrictive corporate work clothes. I really don’t think they’d appreciate me turning up in my swimsuit and finger-brushed hair.