Thursday, July 4, 2013

The wind of the outback

Of all the climatic influences of the Outback it was the winds that bothered me the most.  Being in areas where the flat plains allowed howling westerlies in the summer,  and the cold southerlies in winter to cross the land and gain force just before it hit you with a slap on the back that you would imaging came from the  hand of some malignantly minded giant mad man; these were the  times that most bothered me.

All the living quarters had gauze wire mesh around them to keep out the flies and mozzies, and the westerlies resented this intrusion on its dust billowing, debris distributing, swirling, willy willy making journey across the Outback plains.

The morbid howling of the gauze as it tried to restrain the winds to no avail, would constantly hold one note so depressing one had to be very strong so as not to cut the bloody gauze wire out of the frames.

It would catch you unprepared, the wind, every evening, around sundown, it would subside, slowly, until it became a whisper, and a cool  breeze that changed you mind on its terror of the senses.  Then, just as your fists unclenched, your toes relaxed and you mind started to think about dream time,  the beast would rise up and scream through the wire in a last ditch stand to unsettle you completely.

Loosing you hat just as you tried to light a cigarette in the day time westerlies would  be a common matter, and the following 'rodeo' as your horse shied away from the flying Akubra, and your tobacco tin emptied into he wind,  would undoubtedly give the most miserable  of work mates a great laugh, but then again the westerlies had the ability to make many miserable.

The willy willys that would spiral upwards for a hundred feet or more, would attract the Kite Hawks that  sailed in the  updrafts catching the grasshoppers that had been taken aloft.  The dust lifted from these willy willys always seemed to end up either in your pot of tea, in your eyes and ears or as you found out later, all  over the clothes and belongings in your quarters when you got in at night.

These things were a test of  one's resolve, a test of faithfulness to the Outback, and as I was mostly told, 'If ya' survive a year you will survive forever, young fella'.

And so the westerlies blow, the Southern wind gusts, and winter falls on the land like a heavy hand.

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