The Outback in 2020
When the world closed down in 2020 and the roads were locked around us, the outback felt more remote than ever.
But we’re no strangers to hard times and we know how to carry on with a heavy heart. We know that the only way is through.
We love our sunburnt country but by God she can hurt us too, and it was a hell of a year on top of a string of hard years for so many. We felt it badly in the bush, after droughts and floods and fires. The outback is bigger than all of us and she puts us in our place.
But this year, after some of the dust settled, she took care of us again.
Winter arrived, the rains rolled down through channel country and our friends from town drove the long red roads to see us again. We had a little more elbow room at the bar, but the conversations were as warm as ever.
We worried for our friends across State borders, an imaginary line that never truly divided us before this year.
We felt sore for those who were stuck in small apartments, practising how to smile at strangers when only their eyes are visible above the mask.
We felt so aware of our good fortune and for a while, the only sign that anything was amiss in the outside world was the mask on the moose at the William Creek Hotel.
We celebrated with Victoria when things turned around. Our wobble in November wasn’t great, but we’ll try not to hold a grudge because over all, we have a lot to be thankful for.
Now the year is coming to a close, so the outback has put us in our place again. She’s decided it’s time for us to slow down.
So now we slide into the heat and peace of summer.
The roads have gone quiet and our friends are on the coastlines. Those of us who are still out here spend the time taking care of each other, our land, our livestock and the beautiful old buildings who have seen so much and are still standing. We sometimes forget it, but the old pubs always know that sooner or later, better days will come again.
If you missed us this year, remember that when the time is right, we’ll be right here to welcome you back.
A bit of time in the outback will put you back together better than anything else.
We’ll see you then.