No matter how hard I have tried to escape the bush, I can’t. Years away at boarding school, university, attempts at establishing a career in town were all clustered in the painful ‘seeing what else is out there’ category. But that damn red dust is stuck in my blood.
I suppose you could say that it does actually run in my veins, this life on the land. Mother to daughter, mother to daughter, it passes through the generations like an echo with each wild-eyed young girl as she climbs on the back of her pony for the first time. And how that pony ran, the half-green soul as wild as it’s little rider. You’ll be right girl, get on there and ride him out. Small fingers knotted into it’s mane as this combination of horse and girl flew across the ground, the fierce drumming of the hooves setting the beat for what is to come.
And what did come? All things must pass, the good and the bad. Running wild in the rain that was as scarce as hen’s teeth, the droves of poddy lambs, the time spent learning to ride a motorbike, and to fence, to muster, to drive a truck. The burial of the first dog, that loyal little shadow with the heart of a lion.
As time passed I began to recognise that there was something drawing me to my country, a pull that came from some dark place inside of me. A certain love of the bush that cannot be taught, a certain love that morphs into a condition where an existence outside of it is no existence at all.
My mum is the same, so is her mum. And who knows, maybe my great-grandmother was and all of the women who came before, perhaps they paved that red dirt road and lined it with blossoming Wattle and Mulga trees for us. I certainly hope that I’m not the last of our line to venture down this path, for maybe I have a daughter one day and maybe I don’t. But the future is not where the promise lies; it is in what we have now, in our scarred and weather-beaten hands that have unintentionally led each other to where we are at this moment in time.