My childhood was full of shadows, much like my dreams still are. There always seemed to be something just out of reach, something there but not there (or is that just memory). Easter, when we awoke early to see the bunny, a tangible black shape moved in front of four big brown eyes.
Our shadows stretched out long in front of us as the sun disappeared. We grew tall as the sun went down, on bikes that became giant, foot driven tractors. I was so small at that time I could fit in the wheel of the big blue tractor we had in our machinery shed.
I built a dance floor for fairies that lived in our trees. Leaves of this tree had brushed the ground for so long it became smooth and beautiful. Glitter appeared there one day.
My sister and I frequently rode around the back of utes and screamed made up songs into the wind (banana smoothie.. it's so groovy). Prancing around the trampoline we performed concerts featuring classics like "the emu crossed the road". After rain, we played in the mud near the dams and our boots got stuck in the clay. Games of hide and seek sometimes took place in long clover; nettle's mortal enemy was doc.
Announcements like "we're going to Giudi's" after a long hot bus ride home were the most welcome. Bus rides were spent playing footy cards with a boy called Ricky Gross. In the mornings I would ask the bus driver to play Hanson and Spice Girls tapes, while an older boy would try to infiltrate my pop regime by bringing Triple J Hottest 100 tapes with the Whitlams on it. Only now do I know what "there's no aphrodisiac like loneliness" means. In prep my mum taught me to keep my legs closed when I sat down on the bus if I wore a dress to school. After swims in Giudi's pool we would lie on the itchy pavement eating shapes in the sun while ants crawled over us.
There are very old pine trees on our farm, tall pine trees that we would climb. Once a boy, one of our neighbours, fell from the fairy tree and broke his arm. I remember his bloody teeth falling into our sink. My dad's shaving brush stayed next to the sink for some time. It looked a bit like I imagine rabbit paws do. His guns stayed at the top of our linen cupboard for some time, until the local policeman came to take them away. Everybody knew the policeman by name. That's how the country is.
There is a heritage listed apple tree in a paddock there, and an old ramshackle house that my great uncle built when he first settled on the property. The walls are lined with newspaper from the 1940s. You can read about Hitler.
We moved into a town when I was nine years old. We lease out the house and the land. Even though it is near the mountains and very beautiful I feel odd when I go there. A family lives in the real house and takes care of the farm itself and it makes me sad to think about it - I can't even do that thing where you pretend to be happy that somebody is making new memories in there.