Sliding across the fly screen door I step outside into the late afternoon. The air is thick and humid and my body responds with a sheen of sweat that immediately begins to dampen my clothes.
I flop down onto the half broken chair beside the delapidated old outdoor dining table, who’s fence paling top is buckled and warped from the years of beating sun and torrential rain.
In the distance the mountain range becomes darker with every second, the huge golden sun slowly dropping behind, as shadowy fingers of darkness grope down the gullies like sinewy talons of a giant reaper.
The acute angle of the sun serves to highlight every mote of dust suspended in the air and insects in their thousands cartwheel through space illuminated by the rays. The usually uninspiring jets of water spurting from the lawn sprinkler are now mesmerising arcs of flashing silver, carving perfect parabolic patterns across the vista.
The dog sits under the chair lazily crunching on a rotten old bone; too hot to drag it away for burial. Every sound is amplified in the stillness and the shrieks and laughter of the kids bouncing on the trampoline further down the yard sound like war cries from the across the hills.
Somewhere far in the distance, the deep unearthly rumble of thunder rolls through the the silence like the approach of a vast army pounding the earth, and dark ominous clouds are roiling and building to the west, a promise of relief in the hours to come.
As the sun drops even further, plumes of smoke drift upwards along the mountain ridge, disappearing into the twilight. The sugar cane burns with such a ferocity that the eerie glow from the fires look like miniature suns setting just out of sight on the horizon.
I breathe out a long and laboured sigh as I reach out and wipe off the condensation that is slowly dripping down the sides of the beer sitting on the table next to me.
I absent-mindedly swat at a mosquito that is buzzing annoyingly around my head, it’s incessant whine like fingernails on a chalkboard to my overheated mind. I take a long, deep drink from the bottle. The icy cold liquid is soothing as it bubbles and fizzes its way down my throat. I can almost feel my core body temperature drop slightly.
I lean back on the chair and hoist my legs wearily up onto the table. The dog shifts under my chair to get a better purchase on her bone and continues her rhythmic crunching.
With the pleasing after taste of hops still teasing my taste buds, I take in the picturesque scene before me. I listen to the cacophony of cicadas rising and falling like an ocean current. The birds and kids shriek in unison. I feel the warmth and humidity in the air shifting as the skies darken. I sigh again.
This is my summer.
This is my Australia.
This is my home.
And I smile.