The sun beats down, heating a particle of dust on the ground. It shakes and vibrates with heat and excitement, raring to get away.
Plod goes the feet and with a puff of air the dust is off and away.
In the air, it is joined by millions of friends as a cloud forms behind the walkers on the dirt road.
Up, up and into someone’s nose it goes.
Out it goes.
The pressure changes, the wispy clouds bring the wind with them.
Dirt, dust, destruction.
The dust is insidious. It gets into everything. Buttons, camera lenses, your skin, your eyes, into your brain. It clogs everything up, turns sliding surfaces into scratching, grinding, destruction. It lets itself into your tent, into the weaving of your clothes, it refuses to leave from under your fingernails and even when evicted returns before you have had a chance to admire the clean white view.
Your skin turns brown, not from the suns rays giving burning your skin, but from the dust which seems to make its way under your skin.
The dust can eventually be washed away, although a 3min shower isn’t enough. Try an hour long bath.
Blow your nose 3 days after you have been in the outback and you will still find enough dust to turn your hanky brown.
Water, an essential part of life. But mix it with the dirt and dust and you get mud. Soft, squishy pervasive mud that cakes itself onto your clothes, weighs them down and then hardens upon drying.
Civilisation, cities. These are havens from the dust, a place where the insidious, malevolent force of nature is not allowed, is banned, shunned, hated and attacked.
We are ripping open the heart of the land to extract minerals, we are drilling in more and more remote places to find oil. We are cutting down trees far faster than new ones can grow. We are over fishing, poisoning and even blowing up our marine habitats then destroying the rest with increasing ocean acidification.
Our burnt waste and car, truck and plane fumes are turning the very air we breathe into a caustic cocktail…. And it is all nearly worth it. It is nearly worth the destruction of the planet and all humans, plants and animals, for we are putting up a barrier against dust.
But no, it is not worth it because we can do better. We don’t need to destroy the world, we can live within in. We can enjoy it.
The post above was written by Michael Kubler after having spent some time up at Roxby Downs (Lizard’s Revenge) and also from the first few days of the Walk for Solar (328km walk from Port Augusta to Adelaide). I don’t actually loathe dust THAT much, I suspect I’m just not used to it and the effects it has on things like electronics.