When I was around seven, our family moved house and states, and our books were displayed with easy access in our new Queensland home. I came across an old book of my Mum's that I think she'd owned in school. I don't remember all its contents, except for the poem, 'My Country' by Dorothea Mackellar. Being of an enthusiastic reading age, and as with many new books, I picked it up I began to read it out load, asking my Mum to help me with tricky words along the way.
Then, I'm not sure if for a class 'show and tell,' or just out of my own interest, I learnt the poem and began to recite it around our home. At that stage it was a collection of words that sounded nice together, I knew it was about Australia as I associated the text with what I'd seen and beyond into what I imagined about this great big land.
Last week when we drove home from Canberra we stopped along the road, around half-way through our journey. The sun was still a little over an hour from setting, and the last of the daily golden light breathed warmth over an un-harvested wheat field. It was double gold. We stood outside our car, surrounded by this golden horizon, blue and yellow danced together, a perfect colour spectrum. And I felt like Mackellar stood there once too, or somewhere much like it.
This is a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, the blue skies are pitiless, and the horizons as far as can see.