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Byron Shire
January 18, 2022

Here & Now 186: Super weather

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Here & Now 186
Here & Now 186

Larnook. Monday, 4.03pm

I’m flying over verdant fields where neat fences separate the millet from the corn, the cannabis from the sunflowers. I like neat. Neat is nice. The corn and sunflowers wave in my slipstream like a chorus line in a musical. Food and medicine for all. Nature is nice.

Tucking my left hand close to my chest, I bank left, my shadow flitting across a lush paddock where four cows look up, their tails flicking contentedly. My forelock doesn’t flick, despite my speed.

The shadow distorts as it porpoises through the canopy of a dense forest adjacent to the cows and sunflowers. Wild things and blackbirds live there – yeah – in harmony with the neighbouring agriculture, preserving biodiversity. Oh, how deliciously sensible to nurture the complex system that produced us.

I raise two fingers to my forehead and give a heartfelt salute. What a wonderful world. Nature will always care for you.

Still smiling, I gain height (two arms extended) to crest a flat-topped mountain. Here and there, at the base of the cliffs that encircle the mountain, are small clearings with simple but elegant homes, built from local lumber and Bunnings bits, glinting solar panels. Cool. The yellow sun gives us life.

Children run out from a school next to a creek where no carp are and wave at me. Hello S, they shout. I wave back. And then I point to the school, directing them back to their learning, because they will learn to use the native wit of their species to create a better world for all living things.

Go on, back to school, you young’uns, I say, expertly maintaining height and direction while gesticualting with one arm towards the school. And remember, I shout, stay away from social media.

I tuck my right arm to my chest, effecting a tight turn over the Cawongla Shoppe where old men sip layered lattes in glasses with low handles, and young women do line yoga in the sun.

The world is a gentle caring mother, looking after us, providing for us.

But… I hear a rumble. A disturbing sound, like danger. It’s a growl. (Can’t be nature; nature is nice.) It seems to be coming from Kyogle. (Oh, that’d be right…)

I look under my left arm – the yogis and drinkers seem unperturbed. It was probably just wind (under my cape).

As I turn towards my Porches of Solitude under the nearby cliffs, a blinding flash of light to my left (definitely Kyogle) and a consequent boom sucks the air from around me, making me falter in my flight. Another flash, another boom, more faltering.

Suddenly, I’m freefalling through the crazy flashing and banging, spiralling down into a devil’s disco of flash, flash! FLASH! bang, bang! BANG! Cows trample the fences, wild things trample the cows. The forest shakes, sending wave after wave of screeching blackbirds towards the school where the children run screaming into the creek, texting as they go.

I’m dropping like a meteor from Krypton, my cape a funeral cloth around me. Gosh damn!

The ground is mattressed and moist. My cape clings to me like a wet sheet.

Wait… it is a wet sheet.

The room blinks, winks and flickers, sodden comic books lighting briefly and often. The floor vibrates with clapping thunder. The angry wind chucks bits of cordyline and ficus through the open window. And buckets of rain.

I shut the window. The shack shudders in the blinking storm like a drunken dancer in strobe-light. There’s a crashing noise so close the hairs on my neck stand up and demand to check out. Fear frizzles up my spine.

Nature is a mean mother. It’s not neat and nice.

It’s a nightmare.

(I want to wake up.)


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