Making the long trek up the highway to the farm was an adventure, and one we all looked forward to.
We pass through many quaint little country towns along the way, each with their grand masonic halls and ornate church buildings, now overgrown and neglected. The once thriving populations of these small communities, now resigned to the pages of history. The period architecture, with the crafted wrought iron detail on the gateposts, the red clinker brick facades and the bullnose veranda’s over the shopfronts tell a story of more prosperous times, when ambition and gold brought people from the cities and across the world to seek their fortune.
The country vistas were invigorating and changed like a moving picture as we progressed further inland. Farmhouses dotted over the landscape themselves tell a story. Tree lined driveways and grand weatherboard houses, as well as the more quaint country homes were visible from the roadside. The rocky barren plains, smattered with windswept bushes and gnarly trees give way to the lush rolling hills with herds of cattle grazing on the grass. Majestic Eucalypts, signs of the grand remnants of the rich flora that was once abundant in these parts. We’re welcomed to Taungurung country, an acknowledgement of the traditional owners of this land. As the hours roll on and the music plays in the car, our eyes stretch across the far horizons, often kilometres into the distance.
With the seasons comes the kaleidoscope of colours that make this land unique. In the summer, the grass is a rich golden brown, dried from the harsh summer sun and a tinder box for the raging bushfires that are an ever present danger in this harsh landscape. At dusk, the shadows stretch long across the ground, rocky outcrops and farm outbuildings. The chorus of cicadas, crickets and magpies is a perfect backdrop for the season, filling the air with rich symphonic sounds. In the winter, the thick mist settles in the valleys. Lush green grass provides nourishment for the young animals, who graze nonchalantly and fatten up in the paddocks. The smell of the burning wood fires, plumes of smoke from the chimneys and the bright stars in the clear skies above brings back memories of simpler times.
It is summer. As we arrive at the family farm, the grand old gum trees stand proudly, casting their watchful eye and long shadows over the surrounds. We eagerly get out and inhale the invigorating freshness of the morning country air, before the oppressive heat of the day sets in. The curious calves, new guests in the paddocks greet us at the fence. While the familiar sprawling homestead is welcoming, it is the warm and loving embrace of my father as he waits eagerly for our arrival that we all look forward to most.
Memories made and treasured for a lifetime.
© T. Zerafa 2023
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed my writing. If you haven’t read any of my other pieces, take a look through my blog and listen to my podcast ‘Flash Fiction in five.’
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