I have been saying that the Wet is late this year. The desert is dryer than I ever remember it.
In fact on Friday I posted a picture of rain which was avoiding me.
Yesterday (Sunday) I had to travel to the Telfer mine site to pick up some supplies.
Guess where that rain was falling – yep – on the road to Telfer.
What was odd was that I had to drive through the puddles left behind by the clouds I photographed on Thursday evening..
Here I am, in the middle of the desert.
Top temperature this week was 47.4C. The lowest Maximum was 42.7C
I am longing for some cool. Some cold rain, even some snow.
Then last night I had a nightmare that I was in Panama during a snowstorm.
I was dreaming of a white isthmus.
One of the crested pigeons, the Spinifex pigeon has adapted to the general red colour of the desert and so makes it that little bit harder for the hawks and falcons.
They are very nervous birds and they do a lot of running along the ground. When they fly, it is for short, up to 100 metres, distances. They flap noisily to take off and then glide with stiff wings outstretched. These flights are fast and low.
That red eye patch makes them look quite fierce.
Here in the desert, heat is a way of life.
We are always aware of the temperature. Yesterday was a little cooler, it maxed out at about 41C.
Yet around midday our very dry lake looked to be full of water.
In fact it was full of sky. The biggest mirage I have ever seen on the lake.
The shimmer from the heat haze has blurred everything in the distance.
He sure looks scary. All those spikes and thorns.
Although they are quite sharp to touch, the base of the spikes just push into his skin and the pointy ends don’t go into yours.
They sit in the middle of open spaces such as gravel roads to gather warmth and get quite defensive if their space is invaded – even if it is a large 4×4 which does the invading.
Approaching them on foot will cause them to rear up in mock attack and they only run, at the last moment, for just a couple of yards. Then you can scoop them up and show them off.
The colours seem to vary with the area, or maybe they change colours a little. I have never seen two which look exactly alike.
It is very nice if you return this scary critter to a safe place when you have finished admiring him.
A Scout Master was teaching his boy scouts about survival in the desert. “What are the three most important things you should bring with you in case you get lost in the desert?” he asked.
Several hands went up, and many important things were suggested such as food, matches, etc. Then one little boy in the back eagerly raised his hand. “Yes Davey, what are the three most important things you would bring with you?” asked the Scout Master.
Davey replied, “A compass, a canteen of water, and a deck of cards.”
“Why is that Davey?” asked the Scout Master.
“Well,” answered Davey, ” the compass is to find the right direction, and the water is to prevent dehydration.”
“And what about the deck of cards?” asked the Scout Master impatiently.
Davey replied, “Well, Sir, as soon as you start playing Solitaire, someone is bound to come up behind you and say, ‘Put that red nine on top of that black ten’.”
Sometimes there is almost nothing to see in the sky. It becomes a blank ceiling, covering everything.
In my days in the desert, I could go for days only ever seeing a few birds in the deepest of blue skies.
At times like this one looks to the leaves and branches of trees to break the overhead monotony.
Then suddenly the whirling circles which create our weather and tides and ever-changing night skies relent and allow something extra. Apparently painted on the inside of that great roof over our heads.
Set against the acacia leaves of a desert wattle, a gibbous moon prepares for the approaching night when she will rule over the nocturnal life which will come out to hunt and to feed in the near dark of this dry land.