A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I travelled to the west coast of South Australia – to the thriving fishing and farming community of Port Lincoln part of the food belt of both Australia and the world. It’s two biggest exports are tuna and grain crops and for many years of the 20th century it rode on the sheep’s back. My in-laws live there and have lived on the land most of their lives. We normally visit them in the height of summer, around Christmas/New Year time and the landscape is dry and brown, the crops recently harvested and the sea shimmering blue in the sunshine. Every other time I have seen this landscape it has been dry and brown – that mid summer dry that Australians see across the outback plains that haven’t had rain for several months. When we flew in from Adelaide on a cold August day, I was taken aback to see how green everything was. I was quite overcome by it all. I kept mentioning it all weekend – no-one else seemed surprised by it – just me.
Isn’t it funny how we can experience something so many times in one way that we don’t even consider that there might be another facet or perspective on that thing, that person or that situation? Our minds simply get used to something being a certain way – its real term is habituation – and when something changes, it’s as if our brain has been jarred back to life, seeing things in a new way and with fresh insight.
I wonder what other things my brain takes for granted that I have forgotten to appreciate, or haven’t even consciously known about before? Its refreshing for something to surprise me like that – I hope I go on being surprised and jarred back to reality by life – I don’t want to be one of those people who sees things the same way all the time and expects nothing to change. Bring on the change – at least then I know I am alive!
When I first met my now husband, he lived in the suburbs, the inner city suburbs. He’d been raised in rural Australia but upon finding work in the city he moved to the ‘burbs. As for me, I grew up in the foothills of Adelaide, and apart from a few years when I worked more than an hour’s commute away, I’ve lived in the same area for about 80% of my life. While it isn’t rural Australia, it has a certain rural aspect to it – plenty of trees and native wildlife around us every day. So perhaps I take my local residents for granted.
My husband on the other hand, although he grew up in the bush, still gets excited enough about seeing a koala while out walking that he feels the need to photograph it. I agree that it is a delight to see that symbolic Australian in a tree outside my kitchen window as I did for several days last week but I don’t take many photos of them.
To see beautiful lorikeets feeding not 2 metres from our back door is another thing I never tire of.
As we prepare to move out of the city and closer to a rural setting I wonder what local residents we will share our living space with? I am sure there will be lovely birds and other interesting creatures, although perhaps not the species I am familiar with.
With adventure comes change – I am sure whoever our local residents are they will be interesting and beautiful creatures worthy of a photo or two as well. In the meantime we will continue to enjoy the residents we are familiar with, whether we have lived here a long time or less time.
(With thanks to the Gorgeous One for the photos x)