August 29, 2011 in P
A single drop of icy rain struck the back of his neck. The thrill felt as if he had arched his spine although he had barely flinched, his body was too shocked to know how to react. The transparent pink petrichor of the granite arrived in the same instant, borne on the wind rushing up the mountainside to greet the clouds piling up behind the range. This forgotten sensation, recalling memories from years gone by, cleared the fog from his mind.
As he turned to face the west more drops fell on his face and arms. The large cold splashes of aborted hailstones thumped onto the tray and roof of the nearby ute. The dusty ground stirred and the scent of wet granite was overlayed with slippery red clay and a trace of powdery blue ozone. Younger days came rushing back to his memory and he was caught for a moment between the gay abandon of childhood and the responsibility of the real world. He felt an urge to strip down to his undies, to build a rock dam in a gully, to plug the leaks with sticks and clay, to imagine making it large enough to swim in.
His vigour ebbed as he slid behind the driving wheel. The dreams of a small boy receded as the thunderhead shadow advanced along the range. The granite petrichor had vanished, replaced by mud and sodden grass and steam. And when he closed the car door even those distant relations were banished from the cabin of sweaty work gear, tinted safety glass and baked vinyl. The wet track would be unsafe after such a long dry season so he cracked the passenger-side quarter glass, closed his eyes, listened to the rain on the roof and worried about erosion in the top paddock.
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