Surreal

At the flick of a boarding pass
I find myself touching down in midwinter,
after months of summer sunshine
on the flipside of the world…

No more rainbow lorikeets squabbling fiercely,
garrulously, in the dense and fertile treetops.
Instead a solitary kingfisher flashes past,
jewel-like, in sapphire and ruby,
along a stream engorged by murky floodwater.
The lazy golden koi of summer’s glassy water
invisible now in the rising, racing torrents.

No more galahs spotting the oval,
flashing pink breasts and white crests,
but a drift of ducks, dull brown,
paddling frantically against the current,
going nowhere,
while a tall and stately crane
balances, bedraggled, on one leg
in his winter evening dress.

The colour scheme this season is grey
when, only moments ago, it was
sunshine yellow, aquamarine, green
brightness and light, uplifting, bedazzling.
Shady trees, buxom with summer foliage,
suddenly become anorexic sticks
barren, bony, bleak,
entangled in early morning mist,

and menacing, leaden skies threaten constant rain
when, on a different day not long past,
all was sunshine and cerulean blue skies
blazing fiercely onto freckled skin
as the sand burnt the bare soles of our feet,
where now the cloying mud sucks at our boots
and the mizzling rain clings to our eyelashes
as we trudge through copper-carpeted woods.

No more shorts-and-tshirts and slip-slop-slap,
but quick-as-a-flash, I become Onion Girl
in layer upon layer of cloth to trap the heat
and keep the damp and drizzle at bay,
through days that are fleeting, dim, louring
whereas, with a snap of the fingers,
the southern cross emerges only after
forever days stretching to a candescent horizon.

And yet, I am glad to be home in my own bed,
forgetting where I keep the spoons,
Ug boots waiting to welcome chilled toes,
suitcase tucked behind the door…
where crocuses peek through the grass
with the promise of spring,
familiar routines are slowly re-established
and heavy, happy feet on the stairs
promise comfort and joy.

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