Amber on Red under Blue

Amber on Red
We rolled up to Devil’s Marbles in the heat of the afternoon, the sun high and hot, the gravel parking lot kicking up dust with every step. Too hot to unpack. Too hot to clamber over the enormous stands of neatly stacked, smooth-edged boulders. Too far from Alice Springs to move on.

There was a little breeze, a few roofed camping platforms, so we parked ourselves beneath one while the ’79 Holden Gemini baked out in the sun.

In the shade, with the listless wind, it wasn’t too hot, so we made slow love, then leaned up against opposite roof posts on the shady side, clothes askance, while the sweaty film of our gentle exertions evaporated in the hot breeze.

A car abruptly crested the hidden rise in the parking lot, so we hastily pulled our clothes together. The car stopped at the next platform down and a couple lazily exited, smiled and waved at us before heading up into the marbles.

“They must not have noticed,” I said.

“Or,” she chuckled, “they are generously discreet.”

“If they’d arrived a few minutes earlier,” I replied, “we would have known which for certain.”

We laughed, then rose to start unpacking the camping gear.

The other couple spent perhaps a half hour clambering about the “marbles” and taking photographs before returning to their car. We small-talked the typical fellow-traveller stuff. “Where are you going?” “Where have you been?” “You should really make a point of going to…” Then they climbed into their car and drove off, eager to make Alice Springs tonight. Tomorrow they were booked on a 4X4 package adventure into the outback.

So, we had all the marbles to ourselves again. Too early for dinner. Too satiated, still, for more shenanigans, we ventured into the stands of marbles, climbing them, tracing the smooth edges and curves with our hands, posing for photographs.

The light was still too high, too blue from the sky, to really bring out the colour in the rock, but I got a few good shots in before we headed back to the parking lot to make dinner.

Later, as the sun set, and the sun’s light shifted from blue, to yellow, to amber, the park lit up with fiery reds and oranges. The sun fell fast, so I hurried about the park, trying to find the best combinations of shape and light and colour.

This photo was among a few that worked reasonably well. But it was dusk, when the light began to fail, that the real magic happened. I’ve posted one of those as Evening Haiku Balance.

With the sun now gone, the air cooled quickly, but the rock remained warm for a couple hours longer. So we made love again, up high on the largest stand of marbles, out of the reach of ground-hugging mosquitoes.

The growing chill of the air eventually overcame the dwindling heat of the rock. We picked our way down the stack of boulders to our sleeping bags where we spooned up and promptly fell asleep.

Devil’s Marbles
Northern Territory, Australia

Taken during travels, 1995

I’m submitting this as a response to Jennifer Nichole Wells’ One Word Photo Challenge. This week, the word is Wildfire.

I’ll allow the reader to decide which metaphor I’m applying here.

This is my third response to this week’s challenge. The first was Bringing Fire, and the second, Midway Blues.