I was born here.
I grew up in the country, attended school in the city
and learned about the Battle of Hastings, the American Indians, the Middle East Crisis, Nazi Germany…
I studied Italy, Antarctica, Britain, Vietnam, the Netherlands…
I began to explore Australia when I left.
I came to know her soft, sunlit beaches and gentling sounds
and the inner peace born of hours alone with Nature.
I realised her smell of Eucalyptus and unique breed of humour,
the pleasure of a yarn well-told
and the badge of honour worn with pride by the Battler
not the Victim.
I discovered her rugged, rounded, crumbling mountains
telling of their ancient formation, back in the Dreaming,
older than all battles and kingdoms and men.
revealed her casual, laid-back, “it’ll get done” attitude;
her dismissal of traditional pomp and show.
the thrill of her deep red dust, shifting and slipping under straining tyres:
the same danger as black ice.
I detected her absence of white ghosts that constantly speak, almost
imperceptibly, of the past:
of births and lives and deaths and deaths
so that her wide horizon fills us with the desire and courage to make our mark
make our own story, our history.
I sometimes find bits and pieces of the places I’ve travelled.
I learn more about this land
before the white man
and I understand that I can never know her fully
she will never show me all her secrets
and the history books keep getting written
– and re-written –
but I am content, in my imperfect knowledge,
to say that I love her
as she is.
Sometimes you have to experience ‘the other’ to fully recognise ‘the unique’…
Perhaps a little simplistic and a lot cliched… but truthful nonetheless.