A little over a week ago I was home on the mountain watching the morning sunlight stream through my damp green forest, marvelling and grateful as always.
I am now in so foreign a landscape as to seem like another planet.
On Thursday night, after speaking in Barcaldine, I followed my hosts’ dust cloud through gates and over grids, dodging kamikaze kangaroos, for about half an hour, but across what seemed like the Nullarbor in the dark, and woke up to this.
This is ‘the Downs’; no specific name like the Darling Downs, Denice and Ian Campbell tell me. It’s like this for 360 degrees around their homestead and they love it. I think it ought to be The Downs, to match its impressiveness.
These strangely beautiful Brahmans seem to thrive here.
It is no country for people who don’t like driving, as the roads are straight and seemingly endless. Long dirt roads leading to large properties are muddy or dusty in turns.
They are a treat compared to the tarred roads, where road trains and utes and SUVs leave a trail of roadkill like bloody punctuation marks every 10 metres or so.
Crows and wedge-tailed eagles flap and rise as I approach and twice I saw a feral cat dart back from its feed, into the grass.
I’m a long way from home.