The Heat of Days.


During these parched, fierce days, I’m up long before the dawn. It’s during the pre-dawn that I feel the luxury of hours. The stretch of possibility, before the torpor sets in. Held inside that pocket of cool betweenness, just as the night creatures are shuffling sleepily home.

This is the time before the bellowing of the kookaburras in the tree-tops outside my window. Long before the desolate funereal cries of the currawongs, who arrive in the heat of late-morning, seeking water. I often wonder if Poe would have written of ravens at all had he heard the far more haunting cry of raven’s distant cousin, currawong.

Around 5am, I slip out of bed, being careful not to step on any roving night-spiders, and make my way to my tiny kitchen. I brew my habitual pot of spiced chai, and sit in the old armchair on my balcony, waiting for the furious sun to bully his way over the horizon. My heart always sinks a little as he rises, pushing his sharp prongs of light through the canopy of trees that shield my little house. I feel myself shrinking as he rises. On days such as this, his is an arrogance of heat. There is little that lies between him and my skin. The lightest of layers. I’m driven inside, to grow only paler.

In six weeks, there’s been little more than two days of decent rain. The water tank is running dry. The Chook Ladies crouch in the shade, listless, like all the other creatures. I fret about them. The garden looks ragged and down at heel. The hydrangeas have had their big, blue faces beaten. They hang with their heads down. The petals of the lilies are badly scorched, and the gingko tree lost many of its leaves during a recent assault of 41 degrees (celsius).

My love of roses and herbs makes sense to me now. They are tough. The delicate beauty of the rose belies its toughness. It’s only the roses that have the courage to bloom in my garden now. They look absurdly fragile, but remain unfazed in the merciless heat. I pick one or two for my desk to remind me of the value of endurance, and courage.

The wooden house creaks in the heat. We eat watermelon, and there is the aroma of nag champa, mixed with the heady scent of yet another batch of homemade pesto. The sounds of the Moon-girl’s saxophone drifts through the rooms, as she adds yet another instrument to her repertoire this year. The dog plays dead at the bottom of the stairs, sighing gruffly from time to time. Too hot to move, she never opens her eyes, but simply wags her tail furiously whenever we approach.

Peace roses from the garden. And a new notebook to appease the characters that haunt me. Merleau Ponty displays his wool-clad legs.  

I shuffle the cards, trying to sort my thoughts, which are mostly hot and grumpy. I draw the Six of Vessels, and am soothed by the cool imagery, but little else comes to mind. It’s too hot to think.

During these ghosted days, I’m visited by a host of characters. They come and sit with me as I attempt to work on other things. So I’ve given them a brand new notebook, festooned with flowers, in order that they can write themselves in there. I make promises to not forget them, and the witchetty mountain story that follows me about. Such promises feel big, and extravagant somehow.


10 thoughts on “The Heat of Days.

  1. ugh. no other word will do. i loathe, abhor, abominate, detest, despise, deplore, dislike, execrate and plain old HATE excessive heat. excessive cold doesn’t raise my hackles the way that death-in-life kind of heat does. (a-propos, why do we have so many words for extreme dislike? for love, we can say also adore, but after that it trails away into mere liking or enjoyment…savor, relish, and such.)

    i would love to hear a currawong. i’m do so love ravens and crows, and there is witchery in the sound of their calls and chatter. just as there is in the call of the wild swan as she flies overhead. if the soul doesn’t rise up and shiver with wordless longing at that sound, pack it in—you’re already mostly dead.

    i cannot make it physically cooler for you, but i can give you that image, from my place to yours: on sunday, i heard them calling, calling, as a V-shaped string of swans moved across the air above me; a white wonder in a white sky above the snow…

    may you have a myriad of triumphant roses to revel in, until the rains come and bring back the other green kin.


    1. The image of the wild swans flying overhead is a moste beauteous one! And much appreciated too. It’s not a sight that’s common here at all. And after an oppressively hot and sleepless night, it was a relief to drift off for an hour or so, only to wake to rain and cool. Although it’s now frightfully sunny again. At least there was a reprieve, and there’s hope for more rain to come.

      Summer makes me dreadfully weather-obsessed. I do apologise! xx


  2. You are so hot. And I am so cold. Well, I would be, if I were still outside. The amazing dual natures, of the earth.

    If I could send you a few degrees of our bitter cold… And you could send me a few degrees of your blazing heat…. It would take the edge off of both our seasons. But it doesn’t work that way… All for a purpose, of course. All of nature, always for a purpose.

    Wishing you cool breezes….


    1. I think that would be a weather swap would be a fine thing Tessa ; ) If only it were as simple to organise and opt in for as a…craft swap, or something. Although it could get a little chaotic with all of the rainstorms, winds, thunder and lightning whizzing back and forth between people.

      Thanks for your cool breezes – that worked ; ) xx


  3. i feel you on the loathing of heat. as miserably cold as it is here just now, i think, if forced to choose, i would prefer it over stifling heat.

    now i have to go and look up how a currawong sounds.

    and yes to the lovely notebook for your characters — sometimes, simply acknowledging them, finding them a seat by the fire and handing them a mug of your chai – is enough to keep them happy for a spell. xoxo


    1. I promised myself that I wouldn’t whinge about the heat this year, but here I go spectacularly breaking said promise. Although reading about the storms that are hitting the Northern hem right now, I have shut my gob for a bit.
      Also, I do believe getting insulating in our (completely) uninsulated cottage may help me endure the heat a little better.

      It’s tricky to find a good currawong recording. There’s something of the melancholy that’s lost, because often there are a few of them, strategically placed in the trees, echoing one another’s cries. Like funereal bell-ringers. It’s quite beautiful. xx


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