My favourite time of day is twilight. You know, the only time of day when the worlds of possibility and imagination seem nearest. Tonight was beautiful. February usually isn’t this rainy and cool and sunsets are usually fiery and dramatic – the hot colours of a hot day — and yet here we are on a night filled with autumnal promise. The green man seems restless with the seasons this year.
From my house, I can see down to the sea across the vineyards about 10 kilometres away. Ten minutes ago, everything was still, except for loud happy verses of frog-song. It is as though they are singing the rains in. Gully winds are starting to pick up. They seem to come from all compass points and meet us in their epicentre on our hill. The trees across the hills beyond, still wet from earlier showers, shake their wet leaves sparkling like daytime stars.
I notice the clouds next. Bits break off and float, but with life, they seem sentient as though purposefully directed as they scud happily across the hill. Fragments seem to be falling lower, nearly touching the tree-tops on our hill, little cloud arms reaching out to catch a leaf or two. A black cockatoo flies over, keening and I hear sea mists and rain in its voice – they sound like old spirits.
The southerly sky darkens and fades in a gradient towards the north. I feel as though I’m standing on the precise shadow-fall of the sun on the earth – in between day and night and two weather systems. To the north, the blue sky hangs clear – the clouds speed towards the blank canvas of the north, like a loose iceberg seeking open sea.
Shards of bark that have been shed from trees scuttle along the ground sounding like footfall of hidden denizens. The trees shake their leaves in the air looking like mad tambourinists. My hair curls around my face, and I let nature tousle it into a basketwork of eternal knots as remembrance of this unexpected cool February twilight.
Dizzy winds get crazy now, lifting up bark and leaves and dancing whirling dervishes by my feet. I step out from under the veranda to meet the rain and turn around to be hugged by a rainbow arcing over the sky behind me.
Then a low growl, almost indiscernible but perhaps thunder or maybe the hill sighing in content about what now falls on its dry skin. Rain in dust-like motes falls across the hills. Pushed horizontally by the winds as though someone is sifting cloud down on the land.
The seeking cry of the black cockatoo sounds again, a herald – the rain piles in. I retreat as the sun sets on this February day when summer held its breath and let autumn in.