[1984, and Mr. B, once more, was happily holidaying in luxury resorts. Meanwhile, the younger of the T-Team with roughin’ it on their minds, venture closer to home and into the Flinders Ranges; their sights set on Chambers Gorge…]
The rain followed the ants and began pelting down on the car roof.
‘Get to higher ground.’ Barney thumped his thighs. ‘Argh! An ant!’
‘Remember our friends from church?’ I said. ‘They got caught in a flood in the Flinders.’
Barney nodded and nudged my brother. ‘Yeah, remember?’
‘It’s like raining cats and dogs—and all those ants. We’ll be caught in the flood if you don’t do something.’ Doris slapped her arm. ‘Yuk! Another one! They’ve invaded the car. Get a torch!’
Barney handed Doris a torch. My brother, Rick fired up the engine.
‘Where are they?’ Doris cried. Beams of light from the torch bounced around the cabin.
‘Get that light off!’ Rick said. ‘I’m trying to drive.’
‘I have to find the ants.’
‘You want me to get to higher ground?’
‘Oh, al-right!’ Doris snapped and extinguished the torch light.
Rick manoeuvred the car around and then retraced the track to the previous campsite which had been on higher ground.
As Rick leapt from the car, Doris said, ‘I hope there’s no ants.’
My brother took the torch from Doris. ‘I’ll see, then.’
‘You reckoned this site had ants,’ Doris said. ‘You reckoned we had to move because of ants. I’m not getting out if there’s ants.’
Using both the torch and the car’s head lights, Rick inspected the ground. ‘Nup, no ants.’
Rain hammered the roof and Rick’s image blurred with the rain.
‘Don’t believe you,’ Doris murmued. ‘Anyway, it’s raining, I’m staying in the car.’
‘Are we high enough? Barney asked. ‘I don’t want us getting flushed down Chambers Gorge.’
‘Ha! Ha! Very funny,’ I said.
‘I’m serious,’ Barney said.
‘Yep, we went up a bit,’ my brother said. ‘We’re above the creek, now.’
‘Don’t trust you, get higher,’ Doris said. ‘I don’t want to be washed away.’
Rick mumbled, ‘Like that’ll happen.’ Then he sighed, ‘Oh, alright, if you insist.’ He revved up the car and mounted another small slope and then settled on a hill.
No one dared move from the car as the rain steadily fell and the fear of inch-ants crawling up and over our sleeping bodies. Plus, the bother of putting up the tent in the rain, kept us locked in the car all night. We made the best of sleeping sitting upright for another night.
Morning, we woke to blue skies and the creek transformed into a luxurious chain of ponds. Birds, big black ones called “butcher birds”, galahs, and parrots, converged on the edges of marsh. They searched for fish, poking around the lily pads scattered like floating pebbles on the water’s surface. White cockatoos congregated and chattered in the gum trees with leaves glistening in the early morning sun, washed clean by the rain.
Doris and I took the opportunity to take a dip in a nearby pool. I marvelled how this rain made reeds spring up overnight. ‘They weren’t there yesterday, I’m sure,’ I said.
‘Wow! All that rain, and we didn’t get washed away,’ Doris said.
‘No, we didn’t,’ I replied. ‘No, we didn’t.’
[to be continued…]
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2019
Feature Photo: After Rain in the Flinders Ranges © L.M. Kling (nee Trudinger) 2005
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And escape in time and space to Central Australia 1981…