In 2002 I bought a farm with two other people. Nine hundred acres of beauty. One failed friendship, one wedding and hundreds of phone calls later, we had permission from the local council to establish a community with eight houses. A further five years after that, on September 7, 2012, I sat at my desk, in my new house, for the first time. The farm project had started for me with a vision of a desk, with a large window and a large view outside. The vision hadn’t included the years of negotiation and discussion, of obstructive agencies and files that go ‘missing’. It hadn’t included the turmoil and heat of decision-making. But on September 7, 2012, at my desk, as I had imagined, there was an eagle high up in the sky, drifting on the air currents. The wind had been blowing, gusting all day but had finally calmed, and the eagle was gliding without being buffeted around. The trees were almost still, with the occasional shake a reminder of the day’s wildness.

Now that dream is over. Our share in the farm is sold, and someone else will be living in our house. They will see the bluewrens and the firetails. They will see frogs on the windows and snakes in the garden. They will hear wallabies at night, and watch the kookaburras ring the house, on gutters and fenceposts, at the right time of year. I hope they fill the birdbath with water, and let the swallows roost under the eaves.