Values in a forest change by Elizabeth Buckingham
Updated: Jan 31
Did you come from an urban setting to a rural one? If you have, what thinking drove you?
Whether it was your own choice or something thrust upon you, you brought your memories, maybe glorious childhood ones, or ideas about peaceful living. Valuable baggage which drives your planning!
George Seddon*, a wonderful writer about our various Australian environments, recognises what newcomers have brought to this. His book has me thinking that we have values that we hardly know we have. We may have associations with the flowers and trees of our home countries, images of cottage gardens and more locally, the established gardens in lush green places such as the Dandenongs. These can play a part in what we wish for in our new rural settings.
In January, wanting to buy some Muscovy ducks, I visited a young couple, Sarah and Mark, who had made this move from City to bush three years ago. And their values were quietly revealed.
They live deep in a valley where once an old railway line ran. They are surrounded by self-seeded apple trees, tall but young gums of all sorts, pasture and in front of their house, a fine sycamore tree.
They use a tractor to move fencing materials and fallen timber.
To manage the grass, they ask a local farmer to put in his Herefords briefly.
They use a tractor to move fencing materials and fallen trees, but are not refurbishing the place as a source of income.
They watch and decide. And I asked if they were environmentalists.
Would they write for this Newsletter about their decisions? Yes!
And here is Sarah's response:
“The property we reside on literally feels like halfway between two trig. points.
An oasis in the middle of somewhat chaos.
Symbiosis is here! A harmony!
From jumping ants to echidna walking through the backyard.
A magic is present and I can’t help but wonder if we were both the final ingredients to unlocking paradise?
Storms still rain in this paradise. A few weeks ago I watched wind tear down a tree, leaving her quite flat on the ground, uprooted and whole.
I have seen baby animals grow up here and have mourned every animal that has passed.
We are honoured to be keepers during our time here.
If that makes me an environmentalist then I’m all in!
*The author of the OLD COUNTRY Australian Landscapes, Plants and Peoples, George Seddon, is described as ‘Australia’s finest placewriter’ by Peter Beilharz, La Trobe University