“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt
“Our true nationality is mankind.”
~ H.G. Wells
I’d thought to write a rousing piece for Australia Day – my country’s national day of celebration.
Or perhaps something humorous.
A blog full of pictures of pavlova and koalas. Kangaroos, killer sharks and Ayers Rock.
Maybe a tasty recipe to share at that traditional Australia Day barbeque.
But when I came to the page this morning, I found my heart so swelled with melancholy, nostalgia, love and pain, that no words came.
I love this country. Her dust is in my veins. After my time in the Kimberley with my Aboriginal Aunties I truly understand what it means to belong to country. To feel the pulsing heart of this great land beating as one with your own.
Even as my heart soars with the beauty and mystery of this country, it is breaking too. Breaking as I watch the effects of global warming. Breaking as I watch whole tracts of land laid waste by mining.
Breaking as I watch our government turn people away from Australia’s shores, forgetting that we were all once boat people too.
And my broken heart is also swollen with love. Love for the people who work this land. Love for the artists and the dreamers. Love for the good and honest people who value mateship and a fair go. Love for the people who serve, defend and protect us. All of the people whose lives are measured by how they contribute to family, community, society. Most of them who’ll never know an honour, or a medal, or a parade.
I guess that to love is also to hurt. How can it be otherwise when you care so deeply?
I am grateful to be born Australian. To know freedom and sunshine and plenitude.
Today I’ll gather with my husband and friends and we’ll share a meal, some stories and some laughs, and I’ll count my blessings.
Happy Australia Day!