This small section of my page will be devoted to stories from my childhood, my thoughts and the things I believe in.
Why I Live Where I live – All Kids Need A Cave
I guess I live where I live due to history and geography. The indigenous people of Australia say they have a deep connection to their ancestral lands; the sun, moon, rivers, mountains, hills, rocks, trees and even the soil all play an important part in that feeling of belonging – that place they call “home.” Even though I am not indigenous, I too feel that deep love of the land where I live.
I grew up in this area of South East Queensland on a cattle property and my childhood was spent playing with my animals, riding horses and exploring. I didn’t really find anything new on our property but I did find a cave; a place where I could do things “my way.” My cave was just a large, sandstone overhang, which was nestled into the side of a creek bank, not that far from our farm house. It was a place where I did not have to answer to anyone but myself, however, I still had to abide by one rule –“Be Home Before Dark!”
A creek flowed below my cave and on clear sunny days I would strip off and go skinny dipping where I also snorkeled and fished. I never caught a fish other than the same old, smelly turtle. In the end, I gave up on the idea of roasting a catfish as it dawned on me, I would have to actually kill the fish before I could eat it! I wasn’t actually very good at killing things as I saw far too many animals die on the farm during terrible times of drought.
After swimming, I would lie on a large, flat rock, like a lizard warming myself in the sun and look at the blue mountains which surrounded me. I remember the warmth of the sun on my face, the sound of the kookaburras and the smell of the eucalyptus trees. I did not have a care in the world other than to make sure I was home before dark.
Recently, I came across a quote by Patrick Rothfuss which summed up my childhood,
“When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.”
There is so much you don’t understand about yourself when you are young, but life is a journey and it is finding out why you are different which makes the journey interesting. I must admit an instruction book would sometimes be handy!
I did not realise it then, but I don’t feel “at one” with the world unless I am in an environment where I can have my own “cave,” connect with nature and be surrounded by mountains. This gives me a great sense of comfort and security.
School holidays on the farm were spent mustering cattle with my father. This meant either very early frosty mornings where my fingers and nose felt like they would fall off or rising before dawn, while it was cool in the middle of summer, to round up as many cattle as possible before the sun burnt my arms and face to a crisp. I loved every second of knowing I had an important role in our family and life on the farm. As the eldest child and with no brothers, it was up to me to be my father’s right hand man. He understood my need to explore the bush and seek solitude in my cave.
While I loved the bush and our property, I had a desire to see the world and experience life in the city. Soon after I graduated from high school I left home to live by the sea in a small, fibro cottage with white, frilly curtains. I took my trusty “cow-dog,” Mitch, and we roamed the seashore chasing seagulls, finding shells and dreaming of a job which someday I would find rewarding and satisfying. My life was fun and exciting but with it came the need to lock windows and doors and the sense of insecurity. I could not see blue mountains, smell gum leaves or hear early morning birdsong. I needed much more than a cave with frilly curtains.
It was only when I married and wanted to start a family of my own, I realised I needed to return home to the mountains of my youth and to the familiar smells and sounds of the bush. I wanted my future children to experience a childhood similar to what I had; to be able to explore, roam freely, play in the creek, and most importantly, to find a “cave” of their own.