Midnight. Too hot to sleep with even the thinnest of sheets as a covering. The wind blows from inland, coming over the desert, a hot dry wind bringing yet more heat. An hour or two, the wind dies away and then changes direction. A magpie warbles away, defying the dark. Slowly, the light imperceptibly changes, revealing the dead stalks of oats and grass. The eucalyptus trees outline against the horizon and their grey shapes transform into a dull grey green leaves. Orange and pinks splash across the sky, turning golden then blue. The sun clears the hills and the temperature lifts up another degree.
Cold showers, washing away the sweat of the night. Shorts, tshirts, no shoes for now until the pavement becomes scorching later. Honeyeaters flit from bush to bush, sampling the grevillia flowers.
Clouds appear on the horizon opposite the sun, white and few at first, grey and numerous following behind. The air becomes muggy, heavy with humidity and the promise of rain coming.
Kids start up an ad hoc game of cricket in the quiet street, clearing to the side for the occasional car. One kid is called back to put sunscreen on before rejoining the game. Sausages sizzling on the BBQ, the cheap sliced white bread and tomato sauce already on the table ready to make sausage sizzles. Flies buzzing around, trying to get at the meat and being waved off again and again. The radio tuned to Triple J.
Inside the house, the doors closed, the lounge room air-con blasting icy cold, commentary from the winter olympics on the TV left on in the background. The rest of the house without air-con is still stifling hot. Outside, the crows are cawing, fighting over a sausage left in the dirt.
The smell of smoke. A glance at the sky reveals a plume of smoke rising thickly in the distance. The sound of a helicopter goes low over the houses, on its way to the bushfire scene. The wind is picking up, hopefully the volunteer fire fighters can keep the fire contained.
A sky half clear blue and half full of grey clouds. The distant sound of thunder rumbles, the clouds come overhead, a few fat drops hit the dust. Suddenly the rain downpours, cool cascades clearing away the stifling heat. People standing in the rain, welcoming the break from the oppressive humid heat. The sun shines in from the side of the clouds, a double rainbow says hello. The rain trickles away and the clouds pass on. The eucalyptus trees are wet and vivid, with deep red twigs and deep green leaves shining in the sun. The air is fragrant with the smell of wet earth and the sweet fragipani flowers.
Late afternoon, the sun finally stops beating down as strong. Cold beers and chilled white wine, sitting outside as the evening starts to gather, a hot chook from the shops and a salad thrown together for dinner. Citronella candles are lit and Aeroguard is applied as the mosquitos come out in the dusk for a feast. White cockys fly overhead, landing in the nearby trees and making a ruckus before settling down for the night. The crickets are chirping, the night full of sounds.
The wind is blowing in from the ocean, the air cooling down quickly. It will get quite cold night tonight. The bedroom is still too hot for sleeping, the brick walls holding the heat of the day well past twilight. A cricket has gotten in from somewhere and is chirping away unevenly in the corner. Tomorrow will be another scorcher.