If I’m truly honest, summer is never my favourite time of the year. It’s too scary. But as the climate shifts and global weather events become more extreme at both ends of the scale, we too must adapt and seek ways to live with our landscape … or, as First Nation people say … ‘on country’. I really love that term, though perhaps in my own mind, I alter it slightly to ‘in country’.
I want to be a tiny part of ‘my country’ and that implies a subtle difference between being ‘on’ something, or ‘in’ it. I’m never happier than being an invisible speck in the wider landscape, when I can quietly absorb the life around me, and watch the movements of those lives, plant, bird or animal. None of them need me. I, however, need them.…. for my soul, my spirit and my mind.
So, despite watching sadly as our country dries out, creeks cease to flow, rivers drop to a trickle, our gumtrees shed their leaves by the millions, and smoke from wildfires reminds us of our vulnerability, there are still countless moments of beauty and resilience to be noted.
Is it odd to describe summer as ‘fragile’? surely something so brutal as a bushfire needs a more robust descriptor.
Yet tonight there is a full moon glorious in its fragile light, casting long tree shadows across the ground; there are magpies carolling from distant dark trees, and across the paddocks I see the dim shapes of kangaroos grazing quietly; contented waterbirds are chuffling to each other with an occasional splash; and there is a silence that is not silent at all.
And in the early light of morning, I lie awake watching the sunbeams creeping over the hills, as one by one each leaf gleams a golden-green, and the shadows of the tree trunks melt away ~ and in a few moments, the day begins with a rowdy kookaburra chorus that pushes sleep aside.
For my own sanity, every day I remind myself to gather these moments. They are summer too.