January 25, 2014

The weather gods are teasing us, sending dark grey clouds that promise a lot and deliver very little. There’s been one overcast day, one day of very light rain, one shower with heavy drops, strong enough to batter on the roof for a few precious minutes. We watched white cloud build in the west, then a parade of grey cloud across the north, billowing and chasing. I heard the soft murmur of rain in the night. It spatters the leaves of the trees, stops them from curling and makes them green again. The silverbeet stands tall again, and the zucchinis resume their growth. But it’s not enough to put water in the creek and make it flow again, not enough to cover the rocks where even the slime is drying out.

I have never seen the creek stop. It has always flowed in the eleven years that we have known it. It has always been a place of joyful movement, of pleasant shade, of peace. I have gone to it to see waterbeetles skim the surface, or little birds swooping through the dark tree-tunnels, or some surprise – a string-thin copper coloured watersnake that whipped around the pool; a thick, slick red-bellied black gliding across, ignoring us where we sat on a rock. Now, there are just a few ponds where the cows congregate. There’s a rumour of a trickle of water further up into the rainforest, but I can’t bear to inspect its dried-up bed, its revealed mud, its sordid green-brown skin, cracked and flaking.