One year ago today, the removalists packed all our possessions into their van and drove over 100 kilometres to our new home. We each drove our cars, packed to the limit with (mostly) my pot plants and followed them south, away from Sydney to the Southern Highlands.
After everything had been off-loaded and the removalists had gone, we took deep breaths and listened to the leaves moving in the trees. I walked around my new garden and sighed with pleasure. There was so much to explore and enjoy.
It’s been an eventful year, for reasons beyond our control.
We arrived in the Highlands when most of NSW had been in drought for a few years. I noticed this in my Sydney garden, of course, but it was only when we moved here that the effects of the prolonged dryness became obvious. The land was parched and only plentiful rain could help it heal. That rain did come eventually, but only after the fires had their way with our country.
What has now been named Black Summer has been well documented. Even though it seemed we would be safe (and we were), the fires were unprecedented and unpredictable. At one stage, I feared that two enormous fires, the Green Wattle Creek (coming from the north) and Currowan (coming from the south) fires, would join around us. As black ash and burned gum leaves fell from the sky at our place, we joined the rest of the country to give thanks for our firefighters.
The rains did come and helped put out the fires. They also caused floods. We saw so many images of the destruction the floods caused. It’s a harsh country, Australia.
Then came the pandemic and it is still with us. It brought a new way of working and living and continues to try the resilience of so many people.
During this past year, though, I am so grateful we are here. We’ve set up the house in a way that works for us and have added furnishings to make it a home. My garden continues to delight me, with surprises popping up each month. Even though the groups I joined (quilting and garden groups) have cancelled most meetings and events this year because of COVID restrictions, I’ve continued to explore and learn about our region through my sub-editing work for our local newspaper.
I don’t miss you at all, Sydney. Life is good.