In the east, a 100 kilometre-long wall of flame burns through the foothills and forests.
My parents are over an hour away from the fires, but their sky is grey and the air smells ashen. They speak to tourists who stare at the strange clouds and mention they are going to head east, to Ninety Mile Beach. My parents tell them that the clouds are smoke from the burning townships, that the road to the beach is cut by fire. They decide to head west instead.
Saturday afternoon in Melbourne and smoke lies like a wreath over the city. The city is deserted. Everyone is sheltering from the heat. The sky here is almost white, the sun barely visible behind the veil. God works with a limited palette today. The colours of the traffic lights seem surreal against the muted tones of the surrounding city.
Sunday morning. Familiar skyscrapers disappear into the gloom. The day is brighter, harsher than yesterday, but the horizon remains featureless. Sounds from the Bridge drift through, although it’s hard to make anything out in this odd light. I’m inside, lights off, blinds closed, cooler on, gathering up the energy to head out, do my hunter-gatherer thing and fetch some breakfast.