Tonight, miles away, I can hear the start of every speedway race, a revving pitch of juiced up V8s across the flatlands of the old swamp country. An imminent thunderstorm is trying hard to make contact. We are all waiting for it. In between races, the storm lets out a low rumble. New westerlies work on changing the big trees' minds. The frogs are in romance mode - I think I ran over one who launched bravely onto the tarmac after his mate. Sand Patch swells in the coasthills. The toilet flushes next door.
People are burning off because the authorities have just started giving out permits after a scary, tinderbox summer. Cycling through the night's quiet, dark roads, I can smell the different kinds of wood smoke (swamp, mallee, eucalypt, balga, taylorina). I can smell the drains filled with last night's downpour, new flowers, turned earth, damp peppermint leaves, steaming afternoon sun-warmed bitumen.
Along the highway into town, the casuarinas are flowering. It's a drive-by flash of brown and green according to their sex. Sheoake. Heoke. Sheoake. Heoake ... A local supermarket boasts new season apples. Smoke lays across the glass-off.
It's been warm and grey and nobody knows what to wear. We sweat in a filtered sun and freeze in the shade. We put on our sunglasses and then take them off again. Beanies are still bothersome. The quickening of the sun over the horizon at the end of the day has taken us by surprise. All of a sudden I have to turn my car's headlights on before the close of business.