For how long he stood there, it was of no importance, the hat now all battered with holes in it, creased with years of wear, a crusty white halo around where the band used to be, pushed back on his head, one elbow on the fence post, the other gently holding onto the the space between the barbed wire. A sigh escaped from deep within him. His forehead, a testament to the long struggle of being on the land … three generations… the sigh, an acceptance, that he would be the last generation to call this “cursed earth” home.
Wistfully, he turned his head and looked towards the the tall eucalypt, a sapling that his grandfather had planted, many years ago, underneath untold stories forever lost, small markers, holding his inheritance, his bloodline, a small tear formed and fell down his cheek, this land, no longer his, what would become of those lying softly beneath the parched soil … men and women, sons and daughters, babes, all gone, with a bang of an auctioneers gavel, wiped away.
His grandparents had managed, his mother and father had managed, through years of drought, followed by flooding rains, the topsoil, so nurtured, with love and desperation, swept away to the dried up riverbed below. The many crops tried, animals of all shapes and sizes, some a windfall for the lean years, but most unsuited … a gamble.
The losing of his strong sons, was the last straw, the look in their eyes said it all, the last sight of them, going down the dusty road, clouds of dirt in the air, even that had despair written in it, slowly returning to the dry parched earth ….. one last look, the slamming of the car door, a trailer hitched to the back, half full of memories, everything else had to remain, maybe for someone else … as the grey and unpainted storehouse of memories, slowly got smaller and smaller, tears formed, and fell, down to his chin, like little raindrops, fell onto his faded blue shirt, turning he said, “It’s alright my love”, a gentle but firm patting on her leg, her eyes looking forward, not one backward glance, but he knew inside, he had lost her forever ….. one last look before turning out of the rutted driveway … and there on the hill standing tall and straight, a young man full of hope and promise, shadowy and wispy, … leaning on the fence, slowly fading into the past ….
The Incredible Pooh @2009