Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Everything I know about drought

I don’t know much about drought. Even when I saw her face, I didn’t recognise her.

Years before I moved to Burragan, we visited ST’s mum and dad one summer. Their house yard was a true oasis in the middle of a desert, in every sense. Outside the confines of the garden fence, they were feeding hay to cattle and saving animals from of empty, muddy dams. At the time, I didn’t realise that was what she looked like.

I don’t know much about drought. But I know that she’s inevitable.

I am lucky – or perhaps unlucky and lulled into a false sense of beauty and romance - to have moved to Burragan in the middle of several great seasons. This year, we’ve just less than average rainfall. We are thankful for that. And yet it’s dry. It’s dusty. It’s only getting hotter.

I don’t know much about drought. But I can feel her creeping up on us.

The signs are there. Selling stock. Buying hay. Blowing bores. Boggy dams. Empty tanks. Moving stock. Fierce winds. Thunderstorms that are no longer viewed as salvation, but instead, as fire threats. Those afternoons that smelt like rain; but when they came, they looked, and felt, and taste, like dust. Perpetrations for a dry summer.

I don’t know much about drought. But I know she’s more than a lack of rain.

She’s stress. She’s suffocation. She’s the haunted eyes of men whose strength is buckled by the weight of the world, and women who wish they could take the load off.

I don’t know much about drought. But I wonder if we will recognise each other, when we meet again.

I know we can’t be friends, and yet, to survive in this environment I cannot view her as the enemy.

We might have to learn to get along for quite a while.


  1. Your last line Bessie.. Too true. We have had half as much as you since March 2012.

  2. It is shite living through drought. I have NEVER seen a worse one than 2002 when I had my first born son. I actually cocooned myself in my house and drew the curtains for months as I could not bear to look at it. And I can't get over the optimism of my husband at that time - a true trooper in the bad times.........

  3. Dad has live in your area for his 74 years of living. The 2008 - 2010 was the worst drought in his living years. He is always the optimist. Just before that drought broke I vividly remember him saying " I'm seeing 100 year old trees dying, it gotta rain soon" and "records are never broken by much" xx

  4. I have mentioned on several occasions to her that she is not welcome in or near my home; don't know why she keeps appearing!

    Clever girl Bessie! Yet another enjoyable read.


  5. great post........it's getting harder and harder..................I just want it to stop...........it's time like this that you have to support your neighbours and seek support from them..........we're all stuck in this hell hole together...........it's got to rain soon doesn't it............

    I hope you don't have to get along with 'drought' for very along..........