And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars.
And I somehow rather fancy that I’d like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of the cash-book and the journal –
But I doubt he’d suit the office, Clancy, of ‘The Overflow’.
The sunlit plains extended and the wond’rous glory of the stars. They were ours to enjoy again, at least for a time. Alas all good things come to an end. For now, for us, it’s back to the round eternal.
There’s a rhythm to life at home, the working week sliding into the weekends, scrambles of a morning to get out the door, never ending briefings and meetings and unwinding as best you can of an evening. Time passes, much changes but so much stays the same.
You could grow old tied into the round eternal. Saint Augustine said, ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’. I feel like we started a really good book during our first big trip as a family back in 2011. It was a ripper of a chapter and ever since then we simply couldn’t wait to find out what chapter two had in store.
I’m tremendously grateful for the chance we’ve had to read the second chapter of our travelling story, a second trip of a lifetime in almost as many years. It was a cracker too. Mountains were climbed, voyages were taken into and across oceans and tales were told out in the bush under the light of the moon.
For the first month I wrestled with my conscience about going. We’d already been once and isn’t life on the road just self-indulgent sightseeing? Don’t we all have an obligation to contribute to the functioning of society? Am I not too young to be leaving, swanning off around the country?
Another part of me kept saying you’ll grow old here if you’re not careful, or at least Amy and Oliver will. Just 10 or so more years until they’re grown up. Life moves too fast just to tuck them into bed five days a week. So off we went.
Now that we’ve finished chapter two of the story I no longer have any concern that our trip was self-indulgent sightseeing. I will work another 25 if not 30 years. And while I do, I’ll be able to recall the day it all came together and the four of us climbed Cradle Mountain and or any one of a thousand other moments. Mark Twain said, ‘Twenty years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did…’.
I think maybe memories such as these are important in binding our family a little closer. I hope so anyway. It is Emma, Amy and Oliver who I hope still to be hanging out with 50 years from now – long after the stress of yesterday’s Senate Estimates hearing has passed away.