A Woman's Heart
We owned a farm in the Dooralong Valley in NSW in 2000. This is written from actual experiences during our ownership.
We sold it after extremes in climate and too much government interference proved
too costly for us to continue.
We had Charolais cattle.
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A Woman's Heart
With women the heart argues, not the mind.
MATTHEW ARNOLD, Merope
1. The stand of old growth Melalucas, graces the lowlands of our farm.
For over fifty years, accumulations of leaves have formed small soft islands.
“With selective clearing,” my husband says, "larger areas of grassland will grow.
More grazing for the cows and less hay we’d need to buy in Winter."
Inwardly, I lament, not wanting to lose the beauty of these trees
with branches that rise like huge broccoli bunches against bright blue skies.
My husband, much harder, by necessity, over-rules my sentiments.
2. Conveniently, earth-moving machines appear early on the first day
of the New Year. They cut a long swathe
but on the dam are left a large row, marked by me,
They cast reflections on the still water.
3. The felled trees are piled into rough heaps. Prophetically, the car
of the Inspector for Primary Industries appears.
“You must know, these are protected trees.”
He asks for permits (not granted) and orders a ‘cease and desist.’
His scowling looks are an indictment.
4. For months the operation was on hold
and, then the rains came and the floods—almost our undoing.
Flocks of water-birds occupied the flats, nesting on the islands
formed by the grassy hummocks. When these waters receded,
an overgrowth of young melalucas sprouted, where the old trees
had once stood. A network of roots underground had signaled
a catastrophe. New nodes erupted along all the root-ways.
Dumbly they announced their guardianship of the swampy land.
“Give us back to time,” they said , but the un-relenting slasher
leveled them again, so grass could grow.
5. I go back into my house now, secretly pleased the trees are speaking.
The topaz flames from the fireplace, warm my bones.
The hoary frosts have come. The envelope containing the D P I’s
decision waits on the mantel shelf, propped by a row of grazing, ceramic cows.
From the window I see our cows enter between the Melalucas.
They graze on the new growth pasture.
I warm my hands, as the flames lick firewood.
The scent from Melaluca smoke haunts me.
Copyright © Suzanne Delaney | Year Posted 2014