Something has shifted in me. Standing on the footpath on a balmy Melbourne evening only last month, I was afraid.
Just a couple of metres and a shallow gutter was all that separated our tender little family from a roaring battery of motorbikes, cars, buses and even semis bouncing along the bitumen at 80km/hr. I gripped Alex’s still baby-soft hand protectively and found that despite his fascination with the unfamiliar lights, sounds and smells, I could take it no longer.
It wasn’t always like this. I lived in the city for a decade or so, growing my career and establishing a flourishing micro business that fed my curiousity. True, it always felt as though I were on a camping trip rather than at home but I had my bearings.
Perhaps it was the fear that comes with being a mother that propelled me to usher the little people back to our hotel room. Perhaps it was simply that I am now acclimatised to life in a different lane: the farm lane.
The background sounds tonight are the chorusing of frogs and the intermittent bellowing of bolshie bulls. The scent that wafts through my office window is pure freshly cut grass. Gentle, calming, natural.
But don’t be fooled. Nature sets the pace here, where a sense of urgency courses through the day. She demands the farmer rises before dawn to gather the cows, who must also be fed and protected from her vagaries, only to congregate once again at sunset. And if something goes awry, whether mechanical, physical or personal, Mother Nature is unforgiving.
We, too, know deadlines, budgets, the rat race and all the anxieties they bring. Like most parents, we worry that our children are somehow missing out, and, like most children thrust into the realities of adult responsibilities, we despair that so much is passing us by.
Don’t imagine we are so different: what binds us is so much stronger than that which divides us.