There’s a great song by Michael Kiwanuka called ‘Home Again’. It’s a folksy/country song filled with longing for home. The kind of road song when you’re weary of the road (do yourself a favour and check it out here).
Getting out there in the big wide world is an amazing experience. The excitement of a fresh place, the allure of starting again, the exotic “newness” of it all: it’s a heady mix. But, there’s just no place like home. This doesn’t have to be the land of your birth (although it is in my case); instead a place that is familiar but not boring, comfortable like your favourite snuggly blanket but not suffocating. It’s your niche, your native habitat. The place you thrive.
Having not seen the entire world, I can’t say there’s no other place that might be another home to me. But, for the moment, Queensland is doing a remarkable job of bringing me back to life (so to speak). My partner (who’s back in the UK still and who I hope will come to the conclusion – very soon – that Queensland might be a home to him), when he first visited Australia said that, here in Oz, nature rules.
In England, the countryside is best described as manicured – filled with orderly hedgerows, cultivated fields, stately oaks… even it’s wildlife is pretty well-behaved (except for the red kites perhaps). It is truly beautiful and charming. Songbirds are gentle and soft (and, sadly, barely heard now) and the only thing you really need to fear there is how heart-meltingly adorable your backyard squirrel and shy hedgehog are (warning: pretty damn cute).
By contrast, Australia has a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to nature. The local crows (a completely different species to northern hemisphere crows, even though they look very similar) have a deep rattling call, much like the velocirapter from Jurassic Park. In spring, everyone in my area starts wearing protective hats and looking nervously at the sky, as magpies swoop aggressively from their nest, pecking at people deemed to be too close to their younglings. There’s the screech of the fruit bats at night and, by day, the jeering laugh of the kookaburras. Yep, Australian nature is not delicate. The sun is fierce, the ground is usually dry, spiders abound (as do snakes), when it rains the whole place becomes tropical overnight and you feel as if the lantana will just about overtake the world. Yep, as a human, you feel your place in the chain here and it’s not as near to the top as you’d think it would be. I love it. I feel invigorated by it. I can feel life around me, rather than the dreary suburbaness (and the cold, cold grey) of England. Oh, and, full disclosure, I might also have a pool in the backyard here – that helps, too!!