My Country?

‘I love a sunburnt country’, sunning on the beach, regardless of the risk. Beaches offer sculpture exhibits, ‘race riots’, and peaceful protests: something for everyone.

A land of sweeping plains’, consumed by cash crops, draining precious water, leaving a legacy of dead fish.

Of ragged mountain ranges’, left scarred by logging and mining.

Of droughts and flooding rains’, while climate change deniers cite MacKellar’s 1908 poem as scientific evidence: No climate change here.

I love her far horizons’ that grow closer every year, fogged by pollution and bushfire smoke. This year, with reduced road traffic, the media reported with some astonishment that the Blue Mountains were visible from Sydney – as they were 60 years ago.

I love her emerald sea’, the bleached and dying coral reefs, the floating plastic and Styrofoam beads.

Her beauty and her terror’ Beauty? Yes. Terror? Yes, the forces of nature and climate change are formidable. Terrorist attacks and the pandemic: two new sources of terror.

Uluru – painting by HJL

The wide brown land for me’ And for me, the granddaughter of a Scottish settler, and great-granddaughter of a convict from Yorkshire? I love and embrace this land as my birthplace, but it’s not mine to claim.

HELEN JEFFERSON LENSKYJ

October 2020