home is where the heart is.
I hear somewhere over the folding hills, the birds call to each other for the day’s break. Spread their wings, saw, weaving and ducking like the green of the country bush land. It’s the trenches and grooves where the water used to run, that tells the story of history itself; where fish tackled the upstream current until, one day, the sun grew too thirsty. Now the land is dry, barren and fragile from heat, drought and fire-fueled panic.
Between the cross section where the valleys meet the country, trees gather as a family to become one: where snow will fall in the winter on the treetops, and fire will surge through when a match-head hits the thirsty shrubs. In a dark February, a red beast roared and coiled through the arms of the towering ancient gums, crippling and devastating the bark to its core. No warning had the animals scattering for a homely escape. Somewhere in the fernery, the tiny creatures closed their eyes as the beast howled in their faces.
Now, though, the valley has skinned its black cape, giving lead to stunning, enchanting green. The sprouts of a new life birth themselves amongst the crevices that break between where the red beast bit, and Mother Nature gives to it a new and welcoming reincarnation. Perhaps, these historic idols will never fall by the constraints and threats of Earth itself. On one afternoon, traveling as a young child through this very valley, snow had fallen softly on the Tarmac. Snow White and the Tiger prowl here.
But that’s just before the intersection; before the land of spectacular nothingness becomes the wondrous and completely serene. Here, this is the peaceful heaven where life exists in comfortable hum, where the city does not delve and interrupt lives like a hissing serpent. This land is quiet, yet buzzing; the chatter of familiar folk or those that needn’t know each other at all.
There is no fairytale, no fantasy element or a greater beast here, just the relationship between a person and the soil itself. Where you plant your feet to the forehead of the ground, and let it whisper to you a blissful welcome. It is there that the sun above you dances like a child, and the stars prey on your excitement in the night. The city light long gone and forgotten, only this country night can sweep you off your feet.
And here is the comfortable pleasures of a little country town, red, pink and orange roses blanket the green lawns pleasantly, giving salute to those that lay before us. Needn’t we forget they were once lovers of this land, needn’t we forget they once smiled too.
He is still smiling though, teeth like a gentle grandfather, hands like the beloved elderly; full of stories, tales and hardship. Where his eyelids fold over now, he will never forget the love and emotion he once had here on this barren land.
She won’t forget either, the cool touch of his embrace, where his heartbeat penetrated her mind into remembrance of how love can never be stolen away. As she stands in front of his grave, she notices nothing has changed here; he is still here, completely and entirely, whispering in her ear as if she were still a blonde five year old playing on the farm. He still claps his hands in joy over his granddaughter who is learning what life is all about. He too, is still learning.
To my dearest, Pappy.
One year ago today.
Rest in peace.