In January, I took child no. 1 (daughter) to Echuca and Swan Hill for a few days, while child no. 2 (son) was on a scout jamboree in Elmore. Child no. 2 went to Echuca as part of his jamboree activities, and we caught up with him there, but never made it as far as Swan Hill. Child 1 and I had a great time, largely spent at the Pioneer Settlement Village, and I decided to take Child 2 along these holidays because no. 1 was going to a motivational camp. I'll blog about all of this later -- not tonight as I want to go and do some "real" writing (ie work on my novel).
But today, driving home, I saw this (see below picture) on the road on our way back to Bendigo. Not just one, but several.
I pulled over to take some photos, watching the one above disappear into the distance, when whammo another came across and swamped me in dirt. I could feel it on my skin, as grit in my nose, smell it, taste it. The clean smell of dirt. Sounds funny, but clean in a microbiological sense.
It reminded me of the dust storm in Melbourne in the 80s. I was working in a pathology lab at the time, and we saw Melbourne disappearing before our eyes. No-one knew what it was. I remember the pathologist's daughter, ringing up, hysterical. The other scientists were talking about the end of the world. Overly dramatic perhaps, but the unknown tapped into some primeval fear in all of us -- we just didn't know what was happening. I thought it was a fire, some huge one like the Great Fire of London, destroying the city as we watched. But then before it seemed quite upon us, we could smell it, feel it, taste it. All that quality topsoil blowing through the city streets. Such a waste. And here it was again, in minature -- without the hysteria, not as spectacular, just another reminder of the drought that seems so much part of our lives.