Drought from a woman’s perspective
Drought, from a woman’s perspective
I WONDER at what age my youngest child will ask ‘what’s it like to jump in puddles?’
He is 4 years old and is yet to see more than a couple of inches fall on his soft little hair.
I have lived here a short nine years, and seen no more than three inches in one grand opening of the skies.
Of course, this is my normal because I haven’t seen the ‘great rains’ that have turned the dry dirt to grass, the swamps to fill and the cattle to fatten.
But, in fear of sounding greedy, I don’t want normal anymore.
I want to erase the stress off my husband’s face and see him spend time, guilt free, with his fast-growing children.
I want to be like the girl on the movies who stands, arms outstretched, while the rain soaks her exhausted body.
I want to know what it feels like to walk through wildflow. ers and then pick a vase full to brighten the house. I’m just so tired of relentless blue skies.
But this is drought at its most honest; it goes beyond the news broadcasts and the celebrity visits.
It keeps going well after the cameras have stopped rolling and the microphone is switched off.
It is so much more than an inner-city resident on water restrictions and seeing a patch of their yellow on their lawns, and it is more than giving $2 at McDonald’s and then worrying about burning your lips on a large latte. It's letting tears flows after seeing a heart wrenching documentary on how a 5th generation farmer has walked off his patch of dirt, a broken man, cursing the skies.
It’s seeing school aged kids start charities, truck companies cart hay for free and growers give their goods to those in need.
And for me, what it truly is, is having to say no to attend a wedding, a 30th or a Christmas gathering because if you say yes, you may lose 10 breeding cows to a drying dam.
It is opening your eyes to what this country is dealing with beyond the suburbs.
It hasn’t been easy, coming into a family business, being accepted and then accepting this life as my own.
Being a Victorian put me on the back foot from the beginning.
Of course I knew about drought, but where I am from in North East Victoria drought has a different meaning.
There are seasons with no rain – like what they are
It’s not the weather man’s fault.
It’s not your neighbours’ fault for getting more than you, and it’s not the water birds for allowing you to believe a myth that their presence means rain.
You can sell stock, pump water and renegotiate that loan - but you cannot make it rain.
It is quite simply, timeless and stubborn Mother Nature.
Love her or hate her, she rules our world and shatters lives.
But oh, how we love her when she does good by us.
I’m not a prayer, but I’m also not ashamed to admit that I have stood underneath a blue and cloudless sky and asked for the winds to change and the earthy smell of wet ground to envelop me.
Maybe you could join me in asking Mother Nature to spare Australia a thought and give my husband time to finally help me build that new garden.
I’m here Mother Nature, arms outstretched like the girl on the movie. currently experiencing now – but typically, this does not mean animals dying in their hundreds because the dam ran dry.
Rain has never meant so much to me as it does now - it’s become my daily wish and my constant hope.
It is our livelihood, and without it our children may not get the chance to continue that.
And what makes it hard is there is just no one to blame and nothing we can do about it.
HARD TIMES: With no babysitters for 500 kilometres, it’s all hands on deck when it’s time to draft cattle. Petie Rankin is no exception, pictured here prepared for a day of work, baby and all.