1 April 2015

As we drive along Bucketts Way to the farm the haze starts to rise lightly from the fields. A whiteness shifting over green. I imagine putting my hand down on one of those white-covered fields and feeling the cold and damp of the blades of hard prickly grass under my palm. But I am in the car rushing down the road. The sky deepens in the east to indigo. In the west it’s washed out, a streak of grey cloud drawing a jagged line under its vast colourless expanse.

The moon brightens as the sky darkens. It’s a bit lopsided, still not full, missing a slice out of the bottom. The moon, the haze, the cooling air. Driving out of Sydney to miss the holiday traffic, through choked up roads that finally open onto highways. It all reminds me of Easters past, of my children running in a pack of children on long wide beaches, where the sea splashes fresh against yellow-grey sand as the sun fades. Wrapping children in towels and hurrying them back to holiday rental houses with lino floors and no heaters, cooking sausages on ancient rusty barbecues in dark backyards. Counting children to make sure that none have slipped away. Finding beds and sheets and looking for more blankets in dusty cupboards. Hearing voices rise and fall across the night. Traces of foil easter egg wrappings wherever you go.

Or my own childhood Easters at Lake Macquarie. My parents had a friend who lived there and we would visit every year. She lived right on the shore and the boy next door would take us out in the dinghy. Which was scary, out on the deep wide water. The jetty, where you could lie and peer through the cracks between the slats of wood, watching fish dart among the seaweed fronds, was better. That, and foraging through my showbag, eating licorice, are my main memories. We went every year to the Easter Show, in Moore Park, to see the fruit and vegetable displays and the cows and the sheep and the pigs and then – our annual binge of crass commercialism – to the showbag pavilion. I would buy a licorice showbag with little packets of licorice – licorice strips, allsorts, twists, chunks, bullets. At the bottom of the bag ­– and it was so exciting that I think it can only have happened once or twice ­– were two or three wide straps of red licorice, wrapped in tissue paper, precious. Too precious to eat. I would take my licorice bag with me to Lake Macquarie and ration out the pieces every day, hoping it would last forever. I would lie on the sharp broad grass by the side of the lake, listening to the water lapping, and hoping that would last forever too.