Before the good drop of rain last week things were dry. That rasping dry of February where the sounds of grasshoppers rubbing their legs and grasses chaffing in the wind only add to the sense of brittle lifelessness.
A poor eastern rosella we’d seen in the evening – quite perfectly dead in its fine cloak, like a tiny ornate sarcophagus – was gone in the morning. Feathers were all that was left – a sacrifice of some sort – a token gift of colour on the earth.
Early each day cockatoos march in their odd left wing, left leg, right wing, right leg unco way where the land rises up between the iron barks and the red box, scratching and digging up the nodules of grass roots, full of energy and the last suck of water still held safe inside.
The old trees – skeletal but still graceful in death – play with their branches, holding on to them like batons until they slip and fall like bones at their feet. Skulls with gaping sockets and deep cut fissures, great vertebrae, metatarsals splintered and snapped, lie strewn as an ancient battle field of fallen warriors, now a bone yard decaying in the heat.