13 March 2015
Autumn hits with wild abandon, growing weeds and spinning storms through our valley. Everything seeds and stretches, fruiting, colonising madly, in its final throes of growth before death. Everything looks displaced, frenzied. Pumpkins scatter across the hillside, tomatoes lurch out of the garden beds, zucchinis melt raggedly back into the ground. Heavy rain, and unrelenting humidity on the non-rain days, leave the garden damp and panting.
Approaching the farm, I see that a patch of snowy cloud fills our valley.
Slow. A black cockatoo’s wings beat the air as it sails towards the forest. One cry as it reaches the trees.
Sometimes, some very few times, when times are very hard, when the community becomes a nettle patch, painful to walk through, with a lasting sting – but not as bad as a stinging tree – I think what it would be like to not live here, to not have to deal with nettles. It would mean I wouldn’t have a forest to stare at, to walk in, to learn the tiny corners of. I wouldn’t have a creek, to hear its happy rush after rain. I wouldn’t have birds to delight in, that catch my eye or ear as I’m gardening, their gentle hop, their cacophony. I wouldn’t have sudden moments of joy, breathtaking surprise, feeling honoured by a koala, an echidna. A frog. I wouldn’t have a garden to feed me my vegetables, my greens and tomatoes. That offers up a single magnificent strawberry, a cluster of special, delicious midyin berries, just in passing. I wouldn’t have chooks that pick grasshoppers delicately out of my fingers. I wouldn’t have stars drifting, or a moon bursting through night clouds. I wouldn’t have a place that makes me want to use words like ‘blessed’ and ‘soul’. So much I wouldn’t have.