The week started with a hope of rain, molding a city skyscape of pessimists, while optimistic farmers took their chance to applaud every drop, secretly hoping for the next. Following highway lines, along country roads to home, the night took us to Biripi country to Teach a Man to Fish. Kattang words flowing, didgeridoo humming and tear filling tunes, the introduction to the film was enough to capture the soul of our people and fill us with hope. And somehow, the documentary sparked new hope, new reasons.
Following the wisdom flowing from our team last week, I was guided to listen. Just find the right people and absorb what is there, asking questions to chase the story and note what is not said, what is left in the space between us. Often they are words too hard to share, too painful to re-live as a memory or thought, let alone living in the shoes. Just listen.
Just over 7 hours is the drive between Gloucester and Boorowa, broken down into two seamless long extended straight lines with strong city lights to break up the trip. Yet somehow, the same tall trees seem to sing me into the little town where I grew up, a place that somehow still feels of home despite the distance. Ignorant to the time spent past, my mind still drifts to blocking the streets as a child to play cricket with anyone who stopped in, connecting with nature and animals like best friends and bonfire smoke that broke up the cool nights between the town.
500 horses dash madly across the country, as wiry young men, preferably orphans, make a constant 10+ mile dash full throttle. Jostling and riding spur in makeshift saddles, these men are on a mission- to deliver the mail as fast as they can through mail routes across the United States. Riding long into the nights, facing revolts from Indigenous People over land and with the news of the Civil War uprising, incredible respect and myth still fuels The Pony Express.
Cattle sales snuck up again, like an informal tracker, monitoring time and the weather. As calves dropped bullishly at the farm, prices steadied in the yards, a reminder of past droughts when old, gentle men shook and cried at the fall of the hammer- a crime to watch their good cattle sell for a week of meals. While many farmers fidget feverously and beg for a bit more on the prices, auctioneers dance in the ring to the rhythm of a wild steer. The high of a bid with a raise of a hand insists hope of future rains and a paddock of feed.