Today’s topic is a free association one: Write down the first words that comes to mind when we say … home … soil … rain. Use those words in the title of your post.
Title: Farm-earth drinking
I used to live on a farm. We moved to the farm after living in Brisbane for a few years when an opportunity arose that my then husband couldn’t turn down.
The farm was in Tasmania, just outside a little town, population: 400.
The farm had a few cows, fewer fences, a lot of thistles and even more sheep.
The farm was on a hill and on the eastern boundary, halfway down the hill, above the river, was ‘the race’. I didn’t know what ‘the race’ was when I first arrived (I didn’t even know what a race was, let alone the race). I discovered that it’s kind of like an aqueduct, but far less grand.
It used to carry water from up in the hills behind the town to the tin mine at Derby. Even though I lived there in the mid-1980s, I have only just learnt that it was a 48km-engineering feat, built in 1901, and the first release of water took three weeks to reach the mine. Thanks Internet – we didn’t have the internet back then, so there’s no way I could have known that :).
One farmer I heard about used to tie her son to the clothesline on a long line so that he wouldn’t fall into the race when she was milking the cows. Can you imagine the furore that would cause these days? Still, she was keeping her son safe, so props for that, as the hip people say.
Anyway, the race was dry by the time we moved there; it had fallen into disrepair many years before, but was still an interesting feature.
One of the other interesting features of the farm was the sound the earth made after rain. It rained a lot and so I had many opportunities to listen in to the conversation the earth was having with itself when it rained.
It honestly sounded as though the earth was drinking and taking a great deal of pleasure in doing so.
The farmhouse we lived in burnt down a number of years ago and as I happened to be in the neighbourhood (months after the fire, I hasten to add) I thought I’d stop in to see what remained. Only the bath and a chimney remained. But what hit me as soon as I got out of the car was the silence. It was nothing I’d ever heard before. Sure there were the sounds of birds in the distance, and the tinkle of a cow’s bell from the farm across the valley, but the air was unbelievably quiet. It wasn’t something I’d remembered from living there, although with four children at the time, it probably wasn’t silent too often.
And in that silence I heard it again: the sound of the earth drinking.
If you haven’t heard it, head out after the rain, plant yourself on a patch of earth and tune in.
What do you hear?