Mt Fairy

I’m on a sheep farm at Mt Fairy. The homestead and the garden are a nod to English Romanticism, planted to look overgrown with wildflowers and roses, but carefully planned and sown by a gardener with an eye for beauty, balance, and a prophetic ability to see the future of a mature garden.

It is spring and nature erupts with abundance that is almost too much to bear. There is an almost wasteful opulence of beauty and sensual pleasure. With each breeze, petals are shed from the May Bush and form a cream carpet on the grass below. Life bursts with vigour all around us but decay is already evident within the bloom.

I sit under an oak that must be at least 70 years old with a majestic spread across the lawn. It may look English but instead of squirrels, woodpeckers or Hummingbirds, this tree provides shelter to Magpies, rosellas, and king parrots. Then, at night I hear a Southern Boobook above the din of the frogs; it makes a hauntingly beautiful tone, then a second, as if an echo to its own call. It may be tranquil, but it isn’t silent here. Magpies warble from early morning through to the late afternoon and thousands of bees provide a steady hum that forms the percussive backdrop for all other sounds. Flies, like kamikaze pilots, criss-cross my path and thud into the glass panes of the cottage where I am staying. The breeze chimes high-pitched through tree leaves and birds squawk, twitter or chirp at indiscriminate intervals composing their own celebration to the profusion of life.

Beyond the garden, a long dirt driveway beckons to walk a kilometre or two to explore paddocks left and right. At the cattle grid, the illusion of the English countryside ends suddenly.  It has been raining and the road is rutted. There are deep, water-logged potholes to avoid, and I am on the lookout for snakes in the tall grass along the verge. I have my curious dog with me and know I must protect her from the instinct to play with anything that moves. Instead of a snake, I see a blue tongue lizard sunning on the pale compacted earth. It doesn’t move as we approach, not even as I stop to run my fingers down its smooth, scaly back. Instead, it looks at me and darts its blue tongue in and out. I hold the dog, step around the lizard, and let it bask in this early spring warmth.

Between rows of young oaks, the grasses along the paddock fences are up to a metre tall. The rough spear grass sways hypnotically and shimmers like angels’ hair in the distance. It is the only endemic grass I recognise. Other grasses are introduced, like sheep sorrel, which stands out with its rusty small florets. There’s orchard grass and false oatgrass, the tallest of the erect grasses. I watch the breeze bend long and slender stems and look at their weeping heads bob up down, playing with the sunlight. Even weeds are endowed with their own beauty today.

As I walk back unencumbered, I see the owner of the property in the distance. He who has poured his heart and soul into this land, a land that has been in his family for the last sixty years. I see him work each day, moving sheep, mowing lawns, fixing fences, chopping wood. He has transformed the cottage I inhabit from a wool shed to a charming spot for lovers, dreamers, and writers to escape. A place adorned by climbing roses with onion dome buds pressing against the window, a place where I can choose beauty and the pulse of life. I am grateful for this enchantment and the freedom to observe, think and write.

3 thoughts on “Mt Fairy”

  1. Idyllic – the perfect place to relax and contemplate – your writing invites me to wander in the grounds and leave today’s thoughts aside


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