Saturday, 8 October 2011

Returning to my home-town - wildflowers and memories

Have you been back to visit your home-town lately?

I am back in Eaglehawk, to visit my Mum.

It's been beautiful weather and the scent of eucalyptus and wildflowers has been colouring the air. We have had a peaceful evening. Mum's in bed early now, resting her tired body as it recovers from the hip-replacement. She's doing well, getting stronger every day.  She ate a good serving of the chicken curry I prepared for dinner. Now I have a little time to relax and write.
Eaglehawk.

I like coming back here. It's the town where I grew up, just out of Bendigo, settled in next to the whip-stick forest, with its town hall standing proudly in the centre. I can be gone from here for months or years, but always feel at home in a special way when I return.

This morning I went down the street to pick up some groceries from the local IGA supermarket, and I couldn't resist walking down to have a quick look at the Town Hall and the gardens. We had many special times there. School concerts, band concerts, my sister's deb ball and my own deb ball. I remember walking down to the hall from home in my deb dress, with my partner Tony who was decked out in a suit for the first time in his life. Getting cross as I stepped onto the dusty road and held my white dress up so it didn't end up brown. Such glamour! Hardly.

Lots of processions saw me following the route from the top of the hill to the bottom, where the town hall sits. First I did this in the decorated bikes event as part of the Dahlia and Arts Festival, as each year I would be dressed in an array of ever-more embarrassing costumes. After that I joined the Eaglehawk Citizens Brass band - marching in a starchy blue uniform, keeping in step and playing the trombone in procession after procession.

On hot summer evenings we would wander down to the hall, sitting on the big cannons that adorn the court-yard, next to the war memorial, riding them like horses as the snow-gums swayed gently above us, our stately protectors.

***

Mum's new house sits by a strip of bush-land, a great place to walk in the afternoon. There are flowers blooming right through it - brilliantly coloured gazanias, spreading themselves out into a delightful patch-work quilt. They're not an Australian native flower, but they certainly seem to thrive in the wild. Ever-lasting flowers (statice) line the wandering paths, their papery yellow blossoms leading the walker through the bush, and i pass a little creek where frogs are making their cute little gurgly sounds.

We'll head back tomorrow, down the freeway, to my little house, the beach, my dogs. But I'm sure it won't be too long before I'm back, to say hello to my Mum, and to Eaglehawk, again.