Story telling from Australia
I struck gold when Lynne Gall gave me a gift of strawberry plants. The clutch of straggling plants, dug up from Langawirra Station and delivered as part of a generous welcome to Broken Hill, had been sitting in a polystyrene box for days, waiting for me to dig over a patch of barren earth I’d earmarked as a vegetable patch. The all-day dig unearthed gravel, stones, rocks and heavy boulders the size of shopping bags; five wheelbarrows worth of aching muscles. I snapped a tine on one garden fork and bent the tines on another.
Washing my filthy hands at the garden tap at the end of the day I caught a flash of gold so I picked up the wet rock and turned it over. It glinted. Brushed and scrubbed clean the rock flashed with unmistakeable shards of yellow gold. Forgetting the ache in my arms I picked through a pile of rocks, setting aside any that glinted. In my euphoria I even found enough energy to throw compost onto the garden and heel in the strawberry plants. Clyde came home to find clean rocks lined up on the kitchen windowsill, placed where the setting sun would catch the shards of gold. How we’ll dance, I thought! How we’ll laugh!
‘Iron pyrite,’ he said. ‘Fool’s gold. You get a lot of that in Broken Hill. You get some real gold too, but it doesn’t look like that.’
It’s been three years since that disappointing day and Lynne’s strawberry plants have quietly colonised the vegetable garden. We now have a flourishing strawberry patch, two metres by three metres, packed with plants that deliver ripe berries by the handful, warmed by the sun and heavy with juice; a priceless gift that keeps on giving.
There’s gold in my garden after all.