the roof
the roof
the roof is on fire
we don't need no water
let the motherfucker burn

Australia, particularly south-eastern Australia, is the roof. We're burning in 40-degree-plus heat (that's 104 in American money, and 313 in science land) and we have been doing so for the last week and a half or so. In other words, it is FUCKING HOT. It's no longer Paris that's burning but Victoria. A large amount of Victoria has somehow been affected by bushfire - places not 100 kilometres (which is Australian for 62.5 miles) away from here have been ravaged (among others), at least 14 and up to a possible 40 people are dead, and 100 homes have been destroyed... and we've escaped unharmed. Again.

So how the hell does one escape the heat in a house without split-system air conditioning? How does one escape the heat in a workplace that is designed purely for deep-frying convenience food? We don't. We suffer, or we hide in the freezer for as long as we can.

You know it's hot when the cats stop monopolising the bed and start monopolising the cold concrete floors. You know it's hot when cricket gets called off two weeks in a row (which, incidentally, almost puts us out of the finals). You know it's hot when the supermarket sells out of your favourite flavour of icypole. You know it's hot when your fan collapses from overwork. You know it's hot when you wet the (relatively aquaphobic) dog with a bucket of water and she doesn't complain.

The state government has come under fire (pardon the pun) as there have been many ill effects of the searing heat. Public transport in Melbourne has failed as air conditioning on board trains and trams has died and train tracks have buckled, there have been many blackouts around the state, and emergency services are struggling to keep up with the insane demands that are being put on them. I wouldn't be surprised if the government was making off with all the icypoles, too.

I am wrecked.

In Australia it is Summer again. The Adelaide morgue is full; more than 70 people dead.
The city pretends a day long siesta and breathes with life after dark.
Even magpies stand, beaks open, panting in the shade.

Last night it was hot again, a dark swelter between two more 40+ days. I locked myself out of the house. Resigned to waiting, I hosed myself down and sat, dripping, on the front step, adjusting to the dark, chilling. The sky looked like black granite, improbable clouds marbling the sky. The moon, a bead of sweat sliding down its surface. The landscape was black on black, like a Balinese shadow theatre, or a black paper diorama. The prunus webbed the foreground, standing over an unkempt bramble of seeding herbs and flowers. Eucalypts and willows in the creek were velvet nothings. A cat stepped cautiously on the hot bitumen road, but the dogs were silent, out the back, lying flat. Precise sounds carried across long distances. An unseen nightbird called. A gate creaked. Gruff sounds of traffic on the freeway were overpowered by a symphony of crickets. It was quite beautiful.

Tonight I am thinking of trees in Victoria. My sister has been evacuated from her home. It sits on the edge of a national park. A quaint old timber home surrounded by tall trees and bird life, not far from the upper reaches of the Yarra River. The heat and wind are persistent. The bushfires must be intense.

Tomorrow we hope for a change in the weather. It seems foolish to hope for rain.
It is hard to imagine the Queensland flooding.
Incongruent climate.

      u        e         t
      d  wet   r   new   r
      d        f         e
      l  eye   a   sky   a
      e        l        mm
      s        l         s   

      Lindy and her house are safe.
      Our thoughts with Kinglake.


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