What a long time between posts. Our summer backpackers have arrived – Christine and Abby from Canada, Annie from Scotland. Christine says her parents are particularly concerned about her adventuring at the other end of the world. So I thought it was time for a bit of an update. Christmas wishes from last year reached us from Denmark and France and reminded us that maybe we were not such dreadful people in a not so dreadful place and perhaps some people might like to visit. it has been a difficult year.
I thought I had learnt all I needed to know about isolation from the year I spent in the Northern Territory on Argadargada Station – silly little things can swell to monstrous dangerous sizes, dogs and women are the two biggest causes of trouble cattle stations, being organised about food and drinking water is essential, local culture is something that needs to be fought for and actively created not just “fitted into”, and people who identify as “redneck” or “hillbilly” and spout vilest racism may be closer to original community culture, patterns, language and bloodlines than you would think.
I was governess to a seven year old cowboy. He was blond and white and broad smiling. I saw his absolute double years later in a lift at the Royal Children’s Hospital, a kid come down from a community to support a sick sister, along with about ten aunties and cousins. My husband told me that some people once told him that they were no longer fearing annihilation. The invaders were having children that were being born to this land. Generation by generation, the land would fold around them, the stories would grow across their tongues and their bones would grow from the stones in this place.
Once we remove the colour filter, culture is all around.
What language can we use to communicate this?
Despite assuring my husband that I knew all about isolation, I have been suffering from it. That and other things.
Our “About” page was quickly trolled on this blog, and the little curse arrived at a time of conflict, loss and alienation. It seemed to summarise just what was going on for us at the time. It has taken me a year to build the confidence to respond. And a year to discern that the message came from some-one with a specific and personal grudge. When twelve vehicles and machines broke in one week there was nothing else to but laugh inwardly and grin “what next?”. My farming grandfather use to say that there was only one end of the world. Who knows how close we are to it and what do we do in the meantime? Just what are farmers doing on this land? Whatever it is, we are inextricably linked to just what it is that everybody else is doing on this land. Our troll would have been wearing natural fibres and digesting beef as he wrote.
After a long pause, reflection and painful healing, it’s time for us to leave the traumas behind in a cloud of dust.
We carry on. We try to se the little things as little things, we feed, chain and train the dogs and remember the women in this man’s world, we work harder to make clean food and healthy water, we grow culture within ourselves and we look gently upon those around us.