Tamworth – Last Day of Spring 2009

Bright red sunset burning beyond the distant hills points the way; way out there, across hills and rich plains of Gamilaroi land. This is also the land of my father and his father, and the great grandfather killed during harvest. To think that a heavily packed four bushel bag of wheat: the object of the exercise of growing the stuff , could actually kill you.  Across that small range, in line with Somerton Gap, is the place of my youth. There are many memories here. I am back in the city of my birth tonight.

tamworthlastdayofspring2009

Ashes Tour 2009

Grandchildren paddling out beyond the break and daughters gambolling like seals in the shore breaks: Pop takes his last swim out there where the bottom drops off the bar.

We’d gathered to honour a wish, with no script, and no sense of what is actually meant to happen. There was a sense, though, that these were the memories for so many: the Mollymook days  – when the need to knock off on time to ‘meet someone at the club,’ or the lessons in dealing with the beach were passed on to generations. The Mollymook days – where family had come to share the beach and the sense of holiday fun; and where they all had uploaded a gallery of shared and personal memories which deserved a reprise.

The threads of this tapestry are so interwoven and rich that, for those unable to be there, their thread was still there as part of the picture that had been, and is, being woven.

Beach cricket; shouts of encouragement and fun. Family and friends on the sand. Then, as though at a common thought, we moved to watch as they swam beyond the break, and then we stood, watching, the sound of the waves and the sense that this was just as it should be.

There will be footage on Facebook and talk and memories: more Mollymook stories to add to the collection.

In the background, the boat finals begin. Crews jump at the sound of the  gun: bare buttocks sliding easily on wet seats as thighs drive backward and oars claw at the water, butting out through the break to turn and seek the providence of a rising and falling swell.

There’s a timelessness about these beach rituals for most of us.  Sometimes we catch the wave and sometimes it washes over us.

I reckon he would have thought it was ‘real good.’

Looking North at nightfall

Nightfall, and the bats are on the move.  They fly, beating wings against the greying sky, airborne mammals, shrugging upside down through the day and battering out through the sky in defiance of all probability.

In the distance, squeezed in the frame between roofs, the wind turbine swings lazily, yet, insistently: challenging any latter day Quixotes who would want to sally forth on whatever Rocinante takes their fancy.

Ahead of me the TV aerials thrust skyward: reminders of a time spent wanting Sydney – but only grudgingly.  The audio landscape blurs away with the hum of the coal loader, as we rip out the insides of the valley and pump them into the open squawking magpie chick mouths of an energy hungry world.

The wind turbine speeds up, energetically.

Why couldn’t we rehabilitate open cut mines as solar farms?  The infrastructure is close by to connect to grids, and the earthworks are required anyway.

The sky darkens more, and the occasional bat flies a reverse course: returning, almost sheepishly: to their inverted shrug.

The distant susurration of a rain squall crescendoes across tin roofs and glides across the street. Falling sheets are enough to excite the motion sensor and the light comes on.

Tighes Hill; Saturday night.