Up until the industrial revolution, the pace of change in the world had been fairly sedate. Since then and in particular since the end of World War II this pace accelerated and continues to accelerate.
I think upon the lifetime of Hazel, born at a time of horse and buggy and corsets; when Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson were at the height of their fame. There was a decade long drought across Australian and the stirrings of the trade union movement with the Shearers’ Strike and the formation of the world’s first Labor government (although short-lived). Her birth was in the midst of the constitutional conventions that would lead a few years later to Australian Federation and female emancipation. By the time she had passed away there had been two world wars, the moon landing, the motor car, television and the beginnings of the computer age.
Through all this the constancy of family and hard work remained steady; each with their own rewards. Life was simpler; you trusted in social institutions. You worked the land to feed your family and the community and ultimately to leave it in a good condition for the next generation to run. Farmers understand the concept of legacy; they understand that if you only take from the land eventually there will be no more to give. The land needs to be nurtured.
So what will be the legacy from current generations? Are we nurturing our land or our communities? Or have we become so greedy that we have lost sight of our legacy? When was the last time that our political or civic leaders were brave enough to put forward a vision for the future; beyond the next election or financial reporting cycle or their own lifetimes?
I yearn for some vision. I want to be inspired. I want to be engaged. I want our grandchildren to be at the centre of our decisions.
Do we really want a coal mine in the Liverpool Plains?
“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” ― David Brower
We’ve been away over the past couple of weeks having decided to make the trek across the Hay Plains to Adelaide and the Barossa Valley. Why we would make such a decision at this time of year is another story as we managed to time it with a severe heat wave that hit the south-east of Australia in the same week; some of you may have heard that Adelaide was the hottest city in the world last week! Yeup it reached 46C/115F after several days of temperatures over 40. We had 4 days in Adelaide and I think they were the hottest days of my life. Needless to say that our energy levels were low and we struggled to do any of the things a visitor usually does during a holiday; I only got to one fabric store and it was a very quick visit (no air-conditioning would you believe!!). Then the bushfires started in the Barossa and various other locations between there and home, so we high-tailed it out of there!
Despite all that my surprisingly favourite part of the trip was the drive across the Hay Plains. It’s just majestic! You can see for miles and miles and it is so flat with few trees, mostly salt-bush – it’s just so endless in all directions. A magnificent blue sky, not a cloud to disturb that blueness, and only the shimmer of the heat sitting on the distant horizons to break the stillness of the land. A visit on a clear night with my telescope would also be fantastic; the night sky must be magnificent out there so a return trip to the area during autumn might be quite nice. Besides passing traffic the only other thing we saw during those hours were emus; we saw several busying themselves amongst the brush.
I was reminded of Dorothea McKellar’s poem My Country during this trip and did wonder if the Hay Plains were in her mind when she wrote it:
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!
Saturday was a wonderful balmy evening here and we had all the family around for a relaxed pizza dinner. We enjoyed being able to sit outside chatting and laughing without the usual January high temperatures. The night sky was very clear so the telescope came out to peer at the sliver of the moon and the stars. We had a good long view of the Int. Space Station as it passed overhead but moving way too fast to track with the scope. Jupiter was fantastic, as was the moon – a few wows and cools from both adults and children. Funny watching small children trying to look through the lens keeping one eye shut.
I’ve started sewing up my navy pants today now that the test run went well. It’s just a lovely fabric that I’m going to enjoy wearing. While I sewed I watched a doco-drama; Vincent Van Gogh: Painted with Words.
Vincent has been my favourite artist since I first saw one of his works at the NGV several years ago; I’ve never physically responded to a piece of art like I did that day – it took my breath away. I do so love his use of colour and the emotions he provokes in his work and he certainly captures a beautiful night sky.
Must get back to my sewing and get these pants together before we go off to the movies tonight to see the Secret Life of Walter Mitty; have you seen it yet? This will be my 2nd viewing as I really enjoyed it the 1st time. If you are a bit of a daydreamer I’m sure you’ll like it.
Have a good week