3 September, 2012 by Tricia Hood
“Far Away” was never going to be hard topic to tackle. The header image could have been used – it’s the southern view from my garden, but the photo I’ve chosen for this project was taken from my bedroom window which faces east – and who could ever tire of such a view. The hills in the distance are ‘far away’, that beautiful double rainbow, unreachable and untangeable is ‘far away’, and visions such as these warm my heart every morning of every day. On days when I’m stuck in bed I love looking out my window, squinting at times to work out what the specks in the distance might be … an Echidna wombling along in a paddock (OK I know that’s not a word but it does describe the way they amble about), a frolicking calf a couple of hills over at the dairy, or one of many species of birds – finches, blue wrens, cockatoos, galahs, magpies, ibis, families of swallows and some bird species I have never seen before and am yet to identify. Then there’s the cherry blossom coming on in the orchard next door and the changing colours of the local vineyards a few kilometers away. All changing with every day and every season.
Nine years ago we moved from the city (Adelaide) to the Adelaide Hills. Our location seemed to be ‘far away’ at the time, and in some ways it is, but I never feel alone here. I felt more alone living in the city. People don’t look you in the eye and smile at you, there is a real fear of strangers, for good reason I suppose, but the sense of community has gone. There is a growing sense of disconnection, rudeness and fear. Even neighbours are strangers in the city, many are ‘far away’ from one another emotionally and it’s sad to hear about the elderly dying alone in their homes without anyone even knowing of their passing. Sadly this happened to a family friend.
It’s different here in the hills, kids can wander about safely, they’re much freer able to roam paddocks and explore the wonders of nature and people value community. Strangers in the country are friendly, they’ll nod and say hello in the street, the postmaster knows everyone by name and there’s a mutual dependence as the community pulls together in times of catastrophy such as flood and fire.
Geographically I’m more isolated from people but with the inception of our little business in 2006 I have felt more emotionally connected to people despite our geographical distances. I feel more connected with myself too, being able to be productive, learning new skills and I feel I have a sense of purpose being useful to not only my family but other people too. Many of our customers are interstate.
Don’t get me wrong. I do feel isolated at times – mainly when it comes to shopping or being able to reciprocate by visiting friends and family. The symptoms of my jolly Chronic Fatigue Syndrome limits how far I can travel without repercussion, so I might only get to the city a handful of times every year. But everytime I go to Adelaide I’m always really happy to travel back home to my quiet nest, a smog free environment, located up on a lovely hill which overlooks an historic, small country town, and the hills near and ‘far away’.
Moving ‘far away’ to a country location was the best thing we ever did. Jealous?