Middle English Word of the Moment

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

When I was growing up, it never occurred to me to be afraid of the weather. Thunderstorms, rain, extreme heat or cold, were fun, or excuses for warm blankets and fire and hot chocolate, or for running around on the lawn under the sprinkler and dinner at the beach.

The last two years have changed that. Today, the air smells of smoke, branches are down on roads and power lines around here, and the sky is the colour of dirt.

We have a little rain now; but that isn't good news. For the firefighters still at work out there, it complicates access and hinders backburning, while not being heavy enough to affect the bushfires. Here, it has dampened roads that have been dry for months, lifting the oil on them into a thin, treacherous film that makes driving terrifying. I've just come back from seeing my sister's play before it goes off to the Adelaide Fringe. It was a short drive, but twice on the way there a car in front of me skidded, lost control, swerved out of the lane and narrowly avoided crashing. I felt my tyres lose purchase five times, once just starting up at the lights - and I was driving slowly, carefully, and got new tyres two weeks ago.

You'd think, in those conditions, that people would have the sense not to tailgate, but apparently not.

I think we're all just waiting to see what the sky throws at us next. Apart from branches and singed leaves.

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