This dust storm that stopped time for an hour and a half in Bedourie, Western Queensland a few days ago, has brought back memories. Twice a week on average, through our first 48 degree summer out at Ethabuka Reserve, the sky would darken and turn pink. Looking out at the horizon, without fail, our deluded minds would tell us, ‘it’s rain, those clouds are thunderclouds.’
The mass of cloud would move closer, then the sound would stop. All sound, as if the earth was holding it’s breath. ‘It’s dust’, one of us would finally say, and we would run. Secure every loose item, close shed doors, cover with thick woollen blankets every electrical item, then we would race inside, slamming the door behind us as the storm hit.
The house would heave and groan in the wind, dust laughing through the louvre windows. When the wailing finally stopped, the house would be brushed with a thick coating of sand on every surface, including the bed mattress and inside our ears. The soil really does go as far as New Zealand. I hope they are using it well.