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Driving has its own rhythm. Some days, everything goes smoothly and the distances slip by painlessly. At other times, you can never get started; there always seems to be one more thing to slow you down. You have to buy fuel. You have to buy food. You have to make a detour. You get lost.

You like to drive beyond your means, pushing it until you are barely able to retain control. When everything goes well, you feel exhilarated and full of life. You wonder why more people aren’t doing it.

Sometimes you take time out to visit a local landmark – a nearby lookout, some caves or perhaps a waterfall. There is always one other vehicle in the car park, somebody else who has chosen the same moment to visit this place. You wonder if they too are operating randomly, erratically, or whether this stop is part of a pre-determined plan, a carefully constructed itinerary that you have accidentally stumbled across.

You like to park near to the other car rather than away from it, although not so close as to suggest parking together. Sometimes you meet the people from the other car on the footpath to the lookout or waterfall. You exchange nervous glances, unsure about to how to behave with strangers in the bush. Other times you see nobody and when you leave, the other car is still parked there as if abandoned.

When you feel the need for some company, you turn on the radio. You scan the airwaves for a call sign and when you find one, you stay with it until it fades away, overtaken by static, like driving into a rainstorm. You continue to search, finding a faint, indeterminable muttering and then a sudden burst of clear reception like crashing through a wall of voices.

In the morning, as the engine splutters in the cool clear air, there is news of a missing light aircraft, lost without trace, and a coach accident involving a load of pensioners. Crash investigators are on the scene. Two people have lost their lives; several others are still to be accounted for. The holiday road toll is already starting to climb although the number of drivers caught speeding is down on last year. You think about becoming a statistic.

Torrential rain has claimed more lives in a far-off place; people can only watch as their homes are washed away, stand by helplessly as swollen rivers wreak havoc in once-thriving communities. Meanwhile, local farmers are feeling the effects of the worst drought in living memory. Losses are estimated to run into the millions. Everything has been written off. Somewhere somebody is claiming damages for something which may or may not have happened. There is a total fire ban, strong wind warnings and a sheep graziers alert. Drivers can expect some delays.

And now the forecast for the rest of the country...

The weather is everywhere. Everybody is watching out for it. A change is due but nobody can be sure when it will come or what will happen when it arrives. Perhaps it will bring a sudden disaster – hurricane-force winds, hailstones as big as golf balls, ten minutes of mayhem that leaves roofs ripped off, houses crushed, cars overturned... everything... lost. Nobody expects a disaster, however much they may fear it.

You like to get caught in sudden downpours, like a kid in a car wash, the water running over the car body, the wipers desperately trying to shovel it aside. You have difficulty seeing ahead through the spray and the road dissolves, loses its edge, sinks beneath the boiling surface. You promise yourself that you will pull over if you see a place to stop but when a neon sign surfaces out of the gloom, something about it makes you want to drive on. Sometimes it is better to keep on going, even if you don’t know why.

Usually though, there is just the weather. You watch high banks of clouds move across the land and wonder if the satellite camera in orbit above you is picking them up. You try to picture the clouds on a TV weather chart, caught in a rapid time-lapse movement. You are somewhere on that map, within that outline, moving across the coloured space in fits and starts. The land is orange and the sea is blue.

You see dark clouds up ahead but convince yourself there is nothing symbolic about them. The clouds mean nothing to you. They are merely bodies of warm, moist air viewed from a certain perspective at a particular moment in time. It could happen to anybody.