The heat is a white shimmer that pushes on spine and pressures the brain. Relief is inconceivable. I gorge on chilled rainwater, dissolve ice cubes across steaming skin, then douse myself from garden hose, with barely any reprieve. I am losing it, can’t finish a thought, am ready to chuck the day and turn on the ac in the truck and park in the shade somewhere. Instead I head to the orchard to fix the reticulation.
The citrus trees are starving for a drink. I’ve been traveling and no one noticed the stuck irrigation. The orchard has not been watered for weeks. There has been no rain. The ground is littered with fruit and leaves dropped in desperate attempt to survive the drought.
I crouch over a quilt of moldy oranges, interspersed with freshly fallen craters pecked out by thirsty birds. Freeing black snakes of hose from earth, attended by attentive hens intent on decimating every insect and worm I dislodge, I search for the junction. I unscrew and unblock every sprinkler head, pull apart every connector and steadily work the blockage loose. The water returns inexplicably, just long enough to douse me and provide sufficient relief so I can continue, only to fail again. I am forced to dig out the connector completely, take it apart and fully dislodge the muck that’s been pumped up from the soak.
I give the whole unit a mighty shake and with a shudder the water clears then jets into the sky. It’s Geyserville-Australia! I am soaked and overjoyed. Magically, the very slightest of hot breeze tiptoes across the paddock, lifts the leaves on the trees and tickles my wet skin. And without further effort, my temperature and disposition equilibrates. Water. It’s a mindboggling miracle. Changes absolutely everything.