Recently I washed the car, the outside furniture and all the bedding. I cleaned the house so it shone like a pin, so of course the following day it was blowing dust big time. Living in the Mallee during summertime is not the easiest thing to do.
There is a lack of water in most towns, so yards and paddocks are without a blade of grass. There are snakes, big brown snakes. They come out in the cool of the evening and bite the unwary. They also bite the dogs. I have lost several dogs to snake bite.
No, it is not easy, but the worst thing for me is the wind and the dust. Wind alone is bearable. Even though it is usually hot and dry, it is bearable. Coupled with dust however, is another matter.
When I was a child I thought my mother was crazy. She would shout loudly and order everyone inside to shut all the windows and cover the beds and furniture with plastic covers, whenever the wind sprung up. Mum would become very grumpy and unreasonable. I just did not understand what all the fuss was about.
I mean to say, I loved the dust storms. One could hardly see in front of one’s eyes, but it was fun. All this thick red choking stuff floating about. It stuck to everything and made wonderful patterns on windows and walls… Or so I thought back then.
Fast forward almost 60 years and I have changed my thoughts on dust storms. There have been three recently.
They are hideous things. They creep up with little warning and smother everything in a thick blanket of dirt. Red dirt that is very hard to wash off or sweep up.
Beds have to be changed, curtains washed, floors swept and washed and then swept and washed again. Outside the verandah resembles the neighbours fallowed paddock. I swear I could plant spuds in the dirt on the verandah, and they would grow.
The dogs go from white to red and their eyes are full of mud. Red mud. The car is absolutely unrecognisable. Just like a mound of red dirt.
My feet leave craters in the dirt. It is not unlike walking on the beach, only the sand is red. Everything is red.
Fences are only half as tall as they were after a dust storm blows past. The red dirt piles up in front of them and needs to be graded away. These darn things make a lot of extra work for a person.
All the plants are covered in red stuff, they can hardly breath. Out comes the hose, to clean them up. Thank goodness we still have water.
A dust storm will usually strike just after one has done a big clean up in the house. They know, these storms are smart. They will not blow up if the house is unswept. They wait, picking the ideal time. They like it even better if there are nice wet clothes on the line.
They know if a person goes to town and leaves the windows a little bit open. They know if one is expecting visitors and the barbecue is all set up. They know everything.
I cannot see any good reason for a dust storm, I mean, there is no real purpose to it. If I want extra dirt in my yard and house surely I can just take the wheelbarrow down the paddock and get some. At least then I could put it where it is needed. I wish with all my heart that dust storms would cease to exist. It would make my life a lot easier.