The Bush Fires

The weather has suddenly become claustrophobic, the house like an oven when I get home from work, having baked in the afternoon sun.

It’s the kind of weather where you open up the windows and there’s no cool air anywhere to displace the heat.

Everything smells like the bush fires, just weeks ago the wood fire heating of the neighbours, the seasons changed so fast.

Just a few months ago we built a big bonfire to burn off some dropped branches, yesterday the caramel-coloured labradoodle appeared covered in black soot, having rolled in the remaining ashes of the bonfire which would now be catastrophic to even consider.

My dad came home after a day of drafting lambs, his face and hands covered in the orange dirt that has been hanging in a haze, looking like he’d had a terrible spray tan, a country cousin of George Hamilton with his teeth and hair looking peculiarly white.

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Our town is in the news for its progressive water restrictions, which were never fully lifted after the last bad drought a few years ago, but it still feels like everything is running out.

If you are a water diviner you’re doing a booming trade, your craft seeming less like mysticism to the people eager to pay through the teeth for metres and metres of exploration to find bore water.

The impending summer feels like it will make or break things.

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