(Reminiscent of a time that wasn’t so damn cold.)
Outside is always warmer than in. The deck, the courtyard, the driveway, the front lawn, that strip of weeds around the side which is all but forgotten except for when someone needs to use the second clothesline. They wrap around the house like a blanket lain over a corpse in a feeble attempt to warm it back to life. I want to rip the flyscreens off the windows. Those dusty light inhibitors, hideously framed in a greenish-mud coloured steel which obscenely attempts to take on the appearance of bronze. The windows are latticed with the stuff; hindering sunlight, hindering heat.
The only way I see there is to delay my time amidst the shadowy gloom of inside is to stay out. Avoid it altogether. Make the most of the sun’s presence before it runs off to play hide and seek for the next six months – a game where we are perpetually the seekers.
I venture around the tiny courtyard and come to notice for the first time in my four months of living here, how dishevelled it is. Tufts of grass grow through the pavers – not grass, no, weeds – and they pile about the edges of the fence in unkempt yet peaceful disorder. It is 4:39. The late afternoon sun casts golden light as equally as it casts its shadows. The two sorts harmonise, dancing lazily together in that way which always instils a comfort in me; a sense of ease and nostalgia for the thoughts I’ve had before, walking through this same dappled glow.
There’s a bush which I walk past every day with furry, delicate, plentiful foliage. I hadn’t recognised it for its geometry yet. It reminds me of giant pipe-cleaners bent about to stem off one another. Different shapes of leaves on every plant. Stepping stones around to the side. I didn’t know the central heating unit was right outside my window. There’s a scraggly tree outside the living room that I’d seen from inside but never out.
From the view down the driveway, the front looks better maintained. In closer inspection, it’s only that the grass has remained short, bullied out of growth by the weeds that dominate the borders. An overgrowth of twiggy, pink-flowered shrubs nestles deep into the flower bed and past it. It’s so thick that I couldn’t possibly return around the side from here. The sun is so strong I can’t look west. It is 5:09. Crickets stridulate. A dog barks somewhere and I imagine it’s a boxer – it’s probably not. Two crows reach the climax of a dispute and separate to designated lengths of the powerlines. The collective cry of cockatoos breaks through the air. Miner birds drink from the bird bath and fly off with startling shrieks.
There is a sweet smell lingering; a mix of grevilleas, blue gums and warm earth. These are the artworks only dusk seems capable of making. Early Autumn dusk.