“Now, on this road trip, my mind seemed to uncrinkle, to breathe, to present to itself a cure for a disease it had not, until now, known it had.”
― Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures
But finally, last night, we came home.
We set out from the city in the early evening, to miss peak hour traffic.
The roads were quiet. We turned the radio off. The dogs snuggled into each other in the back seat and went to sleep.
When we left the city behind the sky became luminous with stars, and beneath us the tyres hummed along the asphalt clocking up the miles to our farm’s front gates. Flanked by forests and fields we drove through the darkness. With every mile I felt my body soften and relax a little more.
As we turned off the main highway onto the winding backroads of home we rolled down the windows and the chilly autumn air rushed in. The dogs stirred sleepily, ears alert, noses twitching.
There it was. The familiar scent of damp soil and sweet grass. A hint of cow. Occasionally a sharp stench of eucalypt-scented koala piss.
The night hung heavy and still above us. The trees closed their canopy over the narrow road. Almost home.
A large tawny frogmouth stood sentinel at our front gate, staring at us a moment before she beat her wings noisily as she lifted off and soared away.
We clattered up the long drive, our headlights making everything unfamiliar in their uneven light. Tired as we were, we all lit up with excitement.
We were home.
I could hear the cows calling from down by the river. The night was filled with the sound of koalas and possums and frogs. Sweet music to my homesick ears.
The house was silent and cold for only a moment. We all rushed in, turning on lights, putting down bags, turning back covers, making noise where there had been none.
But soon enough we were tucked up in bed, lights out, house dark again, everyone happy and ready for sleep.
So good to be home!