“When we illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves…sometimes even physically.”
~ Raquel Cepeda, Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina
All things going well, I shall be on the road this Sunday, heading out to Longreach in Western Queensland for a few weeks. Ben and I will pack the ute and depart at dawn for the long trek into the heat and dust. I’m hopeful my health will hold. I could use the break away, and it’s been two years since I was last there – that big wide space which always feels so familiar. No matter how much part of me yearns for salt water, yet another part craves the forever skies, the emptiness, those Outback vistas.
Part of my DNA is anchored at Longreach. Of that I am sure. My grandfather was born here, the son of a drover. His feet walked these same roads. His mother and father’s too. So much history speaks to me as I stroll the wide gracious streets of this town, as I sit by the river or wander the plains.
I’m not quite sure what I expect to find on this next trip. The bleached bones of old stories? A fragment of myself? Rememberings and reconnections?
All I know is that the voices calling me to return have been growing steadily louder and more insistent.
I’ll be celebrating my Nana’s birthday in Barcaldine. My first year without her gentle presence in my life. It will be good to be so far away for that one, I think, and I’m sure I’ll find a little bakery or coffee shop with the sort of food she would have considered a fitting birthday treat.
And for my own birthday I’ll be whooping it up in Longreach. Really, how much more fun could a girl have? LOL!
So, as I’m walking around my little farmhouse this week I’m packing too. Video camera. Hat. Boots. Sunscreen. Jumpers. (It’s still so cold at night there!) Snacks. Books. Journal. Camera. My billy (an old pineapple juice can with wire for a handle) and the fixings for tea down by the river.
Not a glamorous adventure by any stretch. But a real one. With a sky full of stars above me, the whisperings of my ancestors, and a good dose of Aussie fresh air and sunshine. I promise I’ll keep you posted!