The Dust Settles

Starting new. Settling in again.
Now it’s the Kimberly. With deep red earths, stark branches of boab trees crawling across a blue, hot sky. I cover its great distances by plane, by car, hundreds of kilometres stretching out below me. I visit communities of Aboriginal people, who in their living memory, share stories of life in the desert, of emerging to a world of missionaries. When given a box of cereal, and she speared it. They hunt goanna out here. They know when the stingrays are juicy and fat and make good eating. This is new country to me, but ancient country, ancient culture. Sometimes it feels like its decaying on the edges, from two hundred years of colonial abuse. Other times it erupts into song and dance, and I watch the laughing dark faces around me, and wonder what wealth is hidden in their own languages. How much I don’t see, will never see. I sit in the dirt, and the dogs sniff and snarl and settle around me. I listen. I listen.
At home, the five fans circle the air constantly, shifting the heat that is only building. Growing steamier. The Wet is coming. The Wet. With storms and cyclones, and heat so stifling it sends the tourists running South. Soon it will just be the locals. The Wet sorts the wheat from the chaff, I’m told. Its only stories for me. I’ve never sat through the wet. Its coming.
So I nest. Purchase cushions, clean floors, drill holes and hang pictures. Make love to my husband, for he is that- we’re kangaroo married I’m told by skinny Aboriginal woman whose from Broome way, grew up Derby way, her father ‘a stolen generation’ from Turkey Creek. We fill our new home with ourselves. Pluck ripe mangoes from the tree hanging over our fence. Slowly, meeting people, liking people, running into them around town. Beers, down at the jetty, watching the sunset over the murky water of mud flats.
We settle. We learn new jobs. Procedures, people, policies. Then we pull apart the plan and bring ourselves into the picture. Flesh it out, imagine what else it could. Imagine how we could fill it, be in it, love it. Its all dreams still, but our feet our already stepping into the picture. Marking their way in the dirt. Who knows where the track leads, how it will twist and turn, when it will end. We’re on it though, walking with the heat on our back, the wide sky before us, and all the colour crowding in.
Starting new, but starting.


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