Resilience and heartache in the Australian bush
Jann’s return to the little farm after thirty years had seemed like a good idea. Travelling to a neighbouring town to meet old friends had provided an opportunity to return again, to dig deeper into a previous story, to examine a past life.
The decision to move from professional jobs in the city. The decision to buy a property in the country. The decision to build a rammed-earth hut using materials from the property. All a test of a relationship, a test of physical and mental endurance. It had all ended so abruptly. She had grieved the stories she had been fed since birth. She stood awash with memories from thirty years ago. Another time. Another life. The place she had known, which had been so familiar, had all changed, changed utterly. She had changed. Society had changed. And her Australia had changed.
The Storm Builds
The log-crossing had almost become effortless; she no longer had any concern about falling in, as she had done on a couple of occasions or dropping her precious resources into the water below. She felt less guarded and she felt she was becoming a different person. The car lights beamed brightly across her path and created a narrow-tunnelled opening through the forest and dimmed slightly towards the path that led to the hut. She looked around her. This place she thought was unique. The stillness. The light through the trees. She felt cocooned by both.
Visibility had become impaired as she looked through the window and started to feel anxious about living in an isolated hut some distance from her nearest neighbour. She remembered only too well the windstorm that had destroyed their campsite. Back then, she was not alone. She had a mate who would protect her. She suddenly felt very vulnerable.
Twelve months of hard labour, ramming dirt and making bricks yet still no verandah or toilet. It was amazing how readily they had learnt to do without. Weeks of digging, shovelling and ramming had not brought them emotionally any closer. Their plans to get back to nature, to leave the city and to rescue the marriage. Jann had wanted to believe it all. She had interpreted the move to the land as an opportunity to rebuild.