Going bush


“Going bush” in Australia means going away from cities. Just so you know. There won’t necessarily be a lot of bush when you go bush. In fact, there may not be any bushes at all. There are, however, bushes in “the” bush but you don’t “go to” “the” bush. However, you may be found going “into” the bush. What you’re doing in there I’m not even going to guess.

Early November is Jacaranda season...a tree with feathery leaves after a shower of lavender-blue flowers. They are beautiful...ragged domes of purple amongst the ragged domes of green treetops as you look across the landscapes and cityscapes. Very occasionally you’ll catch them sidling up spectacularly beside the brilliant red/orange flame tree. It is also final exam time. Seeing Jacarandas makes many a person feel a strange and inexplicable guilt that they haven’t done nearly enough...

Last week at this time I was driving home from visiting friends on their property out of Manilla, a town in the Tamworth region of New South Wales. To get to Manilla from here, you first drive through eucalyptus bush on either side of the freeway, then wend your way through lower Hunter Valley winegrowing country, then Scone horsebreeding country, then Tamworth country music festival country.

Tamworth has a really Big Golden Guitar. Australia has quite a few Big Things. Goulburn sports a Big Merino ram in whose abdomen one can find tourist information...a modern twist on reading entrails. If you drive far enough you can find a Big Potato, a Big Lobster, a Big Bottle (wine), a Big Banana, and even a Big Earthworm. Kind of adds up to a Big Picnic. And then just to show we may be upside down but we’re not backward, we have a Big DNA.

Although much of Australia is still in drought, there has been rain in that particular region and I have never ever seen it so green. It was beautiful, if strange. I felt a bit guilty for loving it that way.

Country towns have notoriously wide streets here, originally to allow room for bullock teams to turn around. Parking must have been a nightmare...imagine trying to get under the parking station boomgate fast enough with 20 bullocks. No wonder they used whips.


.....................................................................And home again.