Tim Mallon | Soaking up a balmy autumn afternoon

AUTUMN, HUNTER STYLE:  Picturesque Lambs Valley, at its idyllic best at sunset. Picture Floyd Mallon.
AUTUMN, HUNTER STYLE: Picturesque Lambs Valley, at its idyllic best at sunset. Picture Floyd Mallon.

Maitland, Mid-May 2017: And let it be reported that the light of the sky is changing. Let the record show that the season is deepening and the soil’s slumber is all but here. Across the town, the trees are glowing orange and amber, the wood piles stacked - and so goes the cycle …

And around here now, in the early evening, dollops of 5.30pm colour and lamplight spill from the houses and onto the footpaths and streets.

The workers are coming home with their headlights on, across through Testers Hollow, down over the Long Bridge with her poplars, sighing. In from Sawyers Gully and Farley too; around and over and back from Lambs Valley – they’re coming and going home under a soft Australian sky.

And it’s a strange and awful thing that such gentle easy things as this cannot belong to everyone. Since they’re still bombing the innocent in Syria, they’re still fighting and killing - and there’s no time there for meditating on the beauty of green hills or cups of tea or walking the dog or staring quietly at the quiet sky on bin night.

LATE AFTERNOON: The glow of High Street.

LATE AFTERNOON: The glow of High Street.

And let the record show that North Korea tested another rocket this week. A test to test the world I suppose.

And while that stupid rocket raced 787 kilometres across the sky, we were softly coming home, Pink Floyd on the stereo, a recap of a rare but welcome Knights victory on the radio, our eyes on Mt Sugarloaf and the gumtree hills and gullies out there …

And while we own stupid and mad stuff of our own, the truth is that it’s a far-far cry from the misery of all that.

LIGHT ON: Motorists find themselves driving home with lights on as the afternoon dark starts to set in.

LIGHT ON: Motorists find themselves driving home with lights on as the afternoon dark starts to set in.

And yes, you can report to the ones who are away that we’ve still got our share of squabbles, a wrangle over what to put here or there, over how best to live right and fair and smart and all that.

FADING LIGHT: There's something comforting about familiar High Street as the afternoon light fades.

FADING LIGHT: There's something comforting about familiar High Street as the afternoon light fades.

And we’ve got the daily shemozzle down on Les Darcy Drive every afternoon heading west to the train station roundabout, the one where you’re so close to home, but yet so far …

But that’s about the extent of our civic misery, the stuff like that. 

And I can report that this week we saw another Mother’s Day come and go. On the side of road it was chrysanthemums in buckets, it was a picnic at Chichester, Paterson and down in Morpeth Common.

It was a walk in the sad cemetery to remember, photos on the table with tea, and an apple pie made the way your mum did – and that’s right.

And while America drifted further apart and China was planning a new Silk Road to Europe and beyond, around here, we were floating in tinnies on the Williams and taking the backroad to the Bay.

And the High Street looks pretty in the gathering autumn dark, and the river murmuring there below her - and all of us living alongside.

And so it goes. Goodnight.

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