After the paddock was cut, white slopes more enticing than snow were irresistible. Rolling laughter found the space of words, even the dog smiled as she chased us down, so proud to be on her feet above the mantle of our churning. These were the days before climate change, rain followed hay making, farmers cursed in a secret glee; the season break came in March, Autumn a quiet warm after Summer’s bellow.
The valley a chequer board, host to crawling tractors, the bailers giant slugs trolling behind. Full moon kept everyone working, sweating, driving. Sheds filled, corrugated iron stretched to hold it all in.
Air was succulent with ambition.
Houses were littered with daily refuse, grass heads, stalks, socks that were nettled forever. Tired humans let cats hum and nestle in previously sacrosanct laps. Purring outraced fridge engines. Televisions broadcast to inattention, sleeping families smiled in absence.
In the fields snakes sought new residence, mice ran hard for cover, ground rats chased each other, rabbits found last year’s burrows, wombats sauntered on uncluttered ways. Eagles lounged aloof, casually drawing the loose circle of sky, pulling closed the bagged territory.
Old orchards were under the colours of gypsy parrots, speckles of lampooning radiance dive bombing, awaiting the blackout of crows. Silver eyes challenged theories of time, so fast the reappearance round the house, synchrotron wings grazed against the gaps in song.
Zen master cows, from hills that were too high and steep to cut, stood in review. Slow motion meditation, of fast forward luxury in winter silage, rumbled tummies of chanting satisfaction. Methane incense, half closed eyes, pendulum tails swished nirvana.
Flat out on your back, memories interred with sweat, oil the landscape of the past.
I remember, joy not gravity, held us there.