Here & Now with S Sorrensen - Apr 29

Wadeville,
Sunday 4pm:

We get attached to our home turf. And we’d do anything to protect it.

My home turf is centred on my little shack perched under a cliff that overlooks a little valley. In that little valley are other homes. I know everyone who lives there.

Because the forest has come back and grown tall since the land was rescued from the degradation of modern farming, I can hardly see the other homes now, but I know they’re there.

From this centre, my home turf spreads out like ripples in a dam.

Further out are the areas of Larnook, Wadeville and Barkers Vale. Not too far away is Cawongla, a tiny village of maybe 10 houses. It used to be much bigger before the road to Lismore was cut and people around here could get to Lismore and back in a day – with a good horse.

For thousands of years people have lived in these hills and valleys.

When I climb the cliff behind my shack, I can sit on a rock on the cliff’s edge and see the hills tumble to the caldera lip and then dip towards Wollumbin, catching clouds to the north. I am a part of this bigger landscape. And beyond. (Sometimes, sitting on the cliff, the whole world is my home turf.)

Autumn is a beautiful time of year in most places but the country around here seems like it was created with autumn in mind. It’s a canvas on which autumn is painted. It’s a symphony of colour in the key of green.

As I lean my face out the car window, I shut my eyes and feel the shadows of the flooded gums and ironbarks flash over my face. Opening my eyes, I see that the sunlight blinking through the trees has the faintest taint of yellow signalling the start of the sun’s setting.

My mate, who is a neighbour in the little valley under the cliff and is driving, chucks a leftie and we stop in a cloud of dust at Wadeville Woolies.

We like this shop in the bush. (It’s not really a Woolies.) It sells beer. And good fish burgers. My mate loves fish burgers. And beer. Sometimes I drink beer so he doesn’t have to drink alone. That’s the sort of thing neighbours do for each other.

Near the shop is a roofed area with seats where locals gather. There’s a fridge to chill your beer and a television to freeze your mind. Sometimes there’s live music. Today, there’s not.

Last Post wails out from the television. A small crowd is gathered around it. It’s Anzac Day. Today we remember a tragic folly. At the whim of a British Prime Minister young Australian men (some from around here) were sent to invade a country thousands of miles away. That country resisted of course. The Turks are attached to their home turf. And they protected it. Many young men died awfully.

While a magpie pecks at fallen bits of burger near the feet of the crowd which is popping stubbies in readiness, the television shows football players, locked arm in arm, swaying to the mournful bugle notes of the Last Post, and preparing to play a game. A game!

Oh.

The Anzac reality is being hijacked. To set such a poignant tune to the trite shenanigans of over-paid sportspeople belittles the tragic lesson of Gallipoli.

As the sun sets on another Anzac Day, let us not forget the folly and the blood.

Let us never again be conned into killing and dying for the power-obsessed.

And turn the bloody telly off.


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