The Amber Veil

In September we spent a week along the lovely beaches of the Northern New South Wales coast of Australia. One sunny morning we woke to news of a severe dust storm hitting Sydney. The Harbour Bridge was back-lit with a spectacular red sky, flights were canceled and reporters covered their faces with handkerchiefs to report the scenes.  It was only few hours later while we enjoyed a lazy barbecue brunch outside, and I was planning an afternoon with the family at the beach for our last day in Byron Bay that we noticed a smoky brown haze on the horizon. Now, Sydney is a whole day’s drive away from Byron Bay, but I still wondered if the massive plume of dust might be headed our way.

And so, not too long after washing the dishes from brunch we shut all the doors and windows , settled inside and watched the sky turn amber. I took my cameras down to the beach (why didn’t I take video?!) and soaked in the moment.

The smell of dust filled my nostrils and everything seemed so intense. Okay, it was just a dust storm, but it was incredible seeing the environment we had enjoyed over  the last week suddenly change colour, intensity and mood.

The dust filtered our vision so that the only colour we could see outside was a murky, muddy, amber haze. It hovered like a veil covering the larger waves of the ocean and the horizon was no longer a clear blue line in the distance, but a suggestion of what lay beyond. Cape Byron was also masked by the dust which surrounded me. You couldn’t feel the dust particles land on your skin, but the air felt dense like it does on a muggy day. I couldn’t see anyone else on the beach  and while I stood in awe, I sensed the dust was now beginning  to coat my hair, my eyes and my tastebuds. After soaking in the moment one more time and taking a few quick snaps I walked back briskly through the rainforest to spend the next 12 hours inside with the family playing games and watching movies (rather than wading in the shallows of the ocean under a sunny blue sky as we had planned!)

Anyway, I know this post goes on a little, but I just wanted to share this moment and some photos from before, during and after this very strange day. The colours change a little as some were taken on my iPhone, but you get the idea!

Have you ever witnessed your environment changing before your eyes? I’d love to read about your experience!

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