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thunder

There is a thunderstorm rolling in. The rumble is in the distance, but it is nonetheless on its way. There is a threat of rain and I keep looking out the window to see what will happen. Do I shut my windows and doors before it hits? Or do I let the breeze come in and enjoy the air that is blowing in from the storm that is brewing? Yet the thunder rolls and becomes louder and I wonder how long I should wait before “ shutting up shop. “

The lightening is just a flash of light on the horizon and the rain merely a scatter. But the storm is coming. And I am unprepared.

I can feel the tension in the air and it makes me wonder if I am about to get a downpour. Am I seeing the start of a storm that no window or door, no fence or lock can resist? I feel that a storm is upon us and it is gathering strength.

Many years ago, I sat on a porch in the middle of the Australian Outback. It was about 2am and it was 48 degrees celcius. Hot. Unbelievably hot. About 118 in Fahrenheit. I had a CD playing – Garth Brooks. “ The Thunder Rolls “.  I couldn’t sleep. I sat on that step with no air conditioning and wondered how the hell I would survive the heat and the sheer exhaustion of being where I was, when I was and why I was there. Mostly why I was there.

No rain fell. The next day, a dust storm rolled in. It was a massive red wave of roaring fury that sped toward my home and I saw everything choked in a fine talcum powder of red dust. All the linens, the food, the furniture – everything.  Not too many days later, we had a plague of locusts. We had screens on our windows, and they swarmed, eating and gnawing on the gauze and they ate everything outside. Including my one and only tree. Not too long afterwards, we had some rain and the mice came and they ate, ran and scampered. I am of course abbreviating a time frame – but, nonetheless, I saw all of those things and thought that the world was about to end.  But it was and is just the way it is.

locust plague

It was The People who made it great. I met an old chap who told me that had lived in the Outback all of his life. He went to Brisbane once – in 1949 and he hated it – never went back. Too busy. Too crowded. I wonder what he would think today?

Life in the Outback is brutal and beautiful and awful and amazing. It is Australia.

Australia is a very brutal country. It challenges its People to rise to challenges. As Dorothea Mackellar said so beautifully many years ago, I love a sunburnt country.

But those folk, including Time Magazine, who dare to use Australia as a poster child for Climate Change – spare me your bullshit.

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Australia has always been a land of floods, droughts and it has NOTHING to do with bloody Climate Change.

When I sat on that porch, all those years ago, it was hot, unpleasant and draining. But, a few days after that, I went in to Quilpie and saw a flock of galahs fly over the town and the sky turned grey and pink. I saw wild budgies soar in massive numbers and I saw parrots and pelicans in the inland lakes and waterways. I saw horses at dawn running through the dawn sunlight to a waterhole and drink. I saw things beyond imagining. In this hot, dry, scorched inland that for a precious moment in my life – opened my eyes to the magnificence that is Australia.

People in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra have no idea  what the Outback of Australia is all about. “ Farmers are struggling “  is an understatement. Australia spends millions on overseas aid and our farmers are perishing. What is wrong with us?

What is needed is water. The soil in the Channel Country is rich. It is so rich.

Launch the Bradfield Scheme. It will still be bloody hot, but at least the people will survive. Their animals will survive.

It is time to get out of the City mentality and sit on a porch in 48 degrees and contemplate: maybe our Politicians and people like Bob Brown need to sit on a porch in Quilpie for a few hours.

There is a storm brewing. The thunder is rolling. Lightening is flashing. This is Australia.

Please, just please, accept that this is not Climate Change. It is Australia. And it has been for thousands of years.

YET i FEAR THAT THE STORM ROLLING IN IS MORE ABOUT POLITICS THAN WEATHER.

 

The love of field and coppice 
Of green and shaded lanes, 
Of ordered woods and gardens 
Is running in your veins. 
Strong love of grey-blue distance, 
Brown streams and soft, dim skies 
I know, but cannot share it, 
My love is otherwise. 

I love a sunburnt country, 
A land of sweeping plains, 
Of ragged mountain ranges, 
Of droughts and flooding rains. 
I love her far horizons, 
I love her jewel-sea, 
Her beauty and her terror 
The wide brown land for me! 

The stark white ring-barked forests, 
All tragic to the moon, 
The sapphire-misted mountains, 
The hot gold hush of noon, 
Green tangle of the brushes 
Where lithe lianas coil, 
And orchids deck the tree-tops, 
And ferns the warm dark soil. 

Core of my heart, my country! 
Her pitiless blue sky, 
When, sick at heart, around us 
We see the cattle die 
But then the grey clouds gather, 
And we can bless again 
The drumming of an army, 
The steady soaking rain. 

Core of my heart, my country! 
Land of the rainbow gold, 
For flood and fire and famine 
She pays us back threefold. 
Over the thirsty paddocks, 
Watch, after many days, 
The filmy veil of greenness 
That thickens as we gaze ... 

An opal-hearted country, 
A wilful, lavish land 
All you who have not loved her, 
You will not understand 
though Earth holds many splendours, 
Wherever I may die, 
I know to what brown country 
My homing thoughts will fly. 

** 

Dorothea Mackeller

 

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