Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

Comforts of home

Right now, Sydney feels more like a desert than Broken Hill ever did. It’s not of course, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a desirable place to live for millions of people, some of them willing to risk their lives in leaky boats on treacherous seas in the hope they might one day end up here. And it’s not like I didn’t know I was moving.

Last week I was living on the edge of a pristine natural environment. A five-minute drive from home led to open desert and red earth, sculpted and smoothed by wind and rain. Each day’s walk revealed something new – a kangaroo raising its head in the distance, emu tracks that weren’t there the day before, stones that had shifted, mud that had hardened, patterns in the sand that changed as we walked past, the way the light fell on certain rocks, the wind on my face, or still air pressing close and always, whatever the weather, a big empty sky above. Something about the place suited me.

Having spent time enveloped by the comforts of silence, open space, solitude, and the hitherto unknown joy of living with someone, I’m finding Sydney a bit of a shock. I drove to a hardware store yesterday to buy pegs, hooks, wood glue and a decent sized broom. It took three quarters of an hour and involved fourteen sets of traffic lights. There’s little sense of peace and tranquillity as the madness of a big city swirls around me.

I unpack boxes, fighting a cold that makes me want to lie down and do nothing, and I reach for things that bring comfort as they emerge from dusty boxes – a teddy bear I gave a favourite aunt as she lay dying, the barometer Grampy was given when he retired, Uncle Jim’s letter opener, Mum’s Toby jug and the lamps Dad always had lit in the sitting room at Christmas. I succumb to the cold eventually and lie in bed eating hot buttered toast and drinking a mug of tea, ignoring the boxes and listening to the irregular tick of an alarm clock from the 1950s. It has to be wound each night and it loses ten minutes a day but no matter. The sound is as comforting as music.

And I find solace in the company of friends who live around the corner, just like I found comfort and joy in the friendship that was so freely offered in Broken Hill. I know I will enjoy living here it just takes some getting used to.

It will only be when Clyde arrives, and then Maggie, that this beautiful house will feel like a home.

12 comments on “Comforts of home

  1. Val Lord
    July 11, 2013

    Hi Deb, welcome back to Australia! I didn’t realise you were moving so quick…or did I? Does Clyde move in November or earlier? It is certainly different moving from BH to a big city!! I wish I could have had my boxes with items to comfort me. Thankfully the ladies of the RFDS Women’s Auxiliary realised I had to pack light so I have my RFDS silver plane and my pin and other than that a couple of cookbooks… But you are right, once you settle in, and we have, you grow to love it! We do and I am sure you will! How nice that you have friends right around the corner already though…Enjoy your new move and I look forward to many more of your blogs. Actually got up yesterday and wondered why I didn’t have my usual blog from you until I realised that I was a day out!

    Like

    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      July 12, 2013

      Hi Val, thanks for those words, they are as comforting as some of the familiar things I’ve been unpacking. And I hope you will soon be reunited with your boxes of belongings. Clyde will be commuting between Broken Hill and Sydney until the end of the year, and I am definitely planning a couple of trips back to The Hill over the next few months 🙂

      Like

  2. Lisa McFayden
    July 11, 2013

    you’re missed in Broken Hill too Deb xxx

    Like

  3. helenthis51
    July 12, 2013

    OMG!, Broken Hill to Sydney. Why I ask?? Beautifully written post though. I hope you settle in to city life well. Tough call, after living in the wide open expanses of the outback. Seven years on, I am still struggling with a change from laid back Darwin to the suburbs of Perth!
    Helen Thistlethwaite

    Like

    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      July 12, 2013

      Thanks for your feedback Helen, it sounds like you’ve been through a similar challenge. It’s a big change (my partner’s job has moved to Sydney) but who knows what lies ahead? I’m about to embark on a tour of Australia to interview people for my next book, so I won’t be seeing too much of Sydney for a while. Or my partner! 😦

      Like

  4. rubytheblacklabrador
    July 12, 2013

    Good luck with settling in. We moved a couple of years ago to inner city Sydney and have found a fantastic community. We know all our neighbours, everyone always says ‘hello’ on the street and we now love living here. Hope you managed to find your groove 🙂

    Like

    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      July 12, 2013

      Thank you Ruby, glad to hear you’ve found your groove and a great community in the inner city. We’re inner west and it has a good feel. My neighbour called over with coffee and cake on the first day, such a sweet thing to do (especially as it took me three days to find the kettle)

      Like

      • rubytheblacklabrador
        July 12, 2013

        good choice on inner west – make sure you go to a lebanese called Emma’s on Liberty (it’s on Liberty street) 🙂

        Like

  5. debhuntinbrokenhill
    July 12, 2013

    Just checked the website, looks fab, thanks Ruby!

    Like

  6. monsoonwendy
    July 14, 2013

    I found a quote in a book called Belonging Deb, by Isobel Huggan. Resonated with a fellow wanderer:
    “Home is not some familiar place you can always return to; it is the rightness you feel, wherever you are, when you know that you are loved.” Dear friend, know that you are loved.

    Like

  7. debhuntinbrokenhill
    July 15, 2013

    What a beautiful comment, thank you Wendy. Clyde is here for a couple of days now, and that has made all the difference!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on July 11, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

%d bloggers like this: