Story telling from Australia
We notice every scrap of green, tune out white noise, avoid fireworks and welcome the rain. And what type of rain?
Short sharp downpours can bounce off rock-hard land and run off, it’s the long slow soaking rain that’s needed; the type of rain we enjoyed in abundance this week. If only some of it would fall on Broken Hill.
I spent less than four years living in that remote mining town yet it left a lasting impression.
I never complain about rain any more. I wash my hands under a running tap and think of friends on station properties where they wouldn’t dream of being so profligate. They ran out of water long ago. They’ve been carting it in for months now and re-using every precious drop thanks to strategically placed buckets, hoping to salvage what’s left of gardens that are rapidly turning up their toes.
Joining the Sydney City branch of the Country Women’s Association (and no, that’s not an oxymoron) has helped. It’s not a fashionable organisation to join. That’s probably why I like it.
Women with a deep affinity for rural and remote Australia gather at CWA meetings across Sydney to promote the cause of women and families living in country areas. We raise money for charity.
There’s another connection close to my heart at this time of year too, and it’s a deep connection to country and family many thousands of miles away. It’s still hard to equate Christmas with soaring temperatures. Instead of picking holly and ivy from hedgerows shrouded in frost, I looked for the Sydney summer equivalent, searching for the red and green of Christmas tradition.
I didn’t have far to look. Not much grows in our shady backyard but I had a modicum of success planting veg in the front garden this year. A leggy tomato plant appeared of its own volition, so it supplied the red, complete with crowns. Mint and parsley gave the green. Before I knew it I’d picked a plate of summer salad, including cucumber and spring onion that were planted from seed.
We always check the weather forecast for Broken Hill and there was a rare shower icon on the weather forecast a couple of days ago. It delivered an inch of rain over Packsaddle but nothing 80 kilometres further south, where they so desperately need it.
The best Christmas present of all would be rain over Broken Hill and surrounding stations – in fact rain over any part of Australia that’s currently suffering drought conditions would be wonderful.
It’s not the kind of thing you can wrap and tuck under the tree, that’s for sure.
Merry Christmas everyone.