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Frosty Morning, Western Australia

It's cold in the morning. The wind isn't blowing. It's not raining. There's not a cloud in the sky. In fact, it's bright and sunny. But cold.

Your breath freezes and mists in front of your face, forming a miniature cloud as you breathe deeply, trying to warm frozen fingers, feet, faces, hands and arms. The air seems unable to move, just sitting there as if frozen into a solid block.

The gum trees out across the paddock look different on mornings like this. Instead of being moving, animate, active, dynamic, almost human, they stand still, their bark drenched dark with dew, seeming as though they were of two dimensions, flat and featureless, rather than three.

Dew has fallen heavily. Where the cat has walked before you, there are bright green footprints standing out amidst the frosted grass. Near the creek, a mist rises off the warmer water, giving the trees nearby an unreal quality, almost illusory. The deep green hills in the distance are also shrouded in mist, and all of the world around you seems a fantasy land.

The sound of the dog, barking in the distance is muted, as is the twittering and arguing of the birds in the trees. Perhaps the stillness and silence is resentful of the noise, and tries to hush it up. Your voice, when you call to the dog, is also swallowed by the silence, the breath that you used to shape the words hanging like a visible reminder of the sounds, but swiftly vanishing.

Shadows are long, cold areas of ground, the sole tattered remnants of night that remain. The stretch out, as though trying to regain or retain their night time grip on the earth, fighting mindlessly against the onrushing sunshine. Where the sun's rays are not blurred by mist, the outlines of the trees are clear and sharp, as though cut by a scalpel.

The dawn is over. Morning has come, but night is leaving a final reminder of its' power in the biting, bone chilling cold.

It is morning, but it is so bitterly cold.

This is a slight expansion and revision of a piece I first wrote for an english comparability test back in 1988. The place described here is actually an amalgam of several places in the south-eastern suburbs of Perth, melded into one for dramatic effect. I wound up with a B+ for the original piece - it was judged "too short for an A", but having "lots of potential".

This work is copyright Meg Thornton 1988 - 2005. All rights reserved.

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