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.