With determination I completed all tasks on my list before setting off to Merredin, a small farming town to the East of Perth and over 280 km from home. My productivity came at a cost. I got to Northam filled with apprehension. I still had another 160+ km to go with the sun setting within a few minutes. I tried to quell my anxiety. I hate driving this road in day light, let alone at dusk and dark. Deep in the Eastern Wheatbelt, the road kill is kangaroo and fox.
I was alone on the road. Although a major transport highway for sheep and grain, there are no street lights. Occasionally a road train, lit up like Christmas would whoompf past me, in the opposite direction. Then it was silent. I was alone again.
In those few minutes between dusk and dark, the sun set behind me, painting the sky with broad strokes in vivid colours. In front of me, just beyond a ridge, a pale gold disc rose majestically beyond it, bigger than anything I’ve seen in the city. The full moon rose silently against a background still blue and varying shades of pink. Like a watchful eye. It then rested on the black bitumen way ahead of me, for a few minutes. In the dark that sequin seduced my eye. An Instagram moment if ever there was one. Unfiltered. (un)Photoshopped. All fears shelved for a few minutes but I could not find the courage to get out of my car and take a picture. Despite the surreal beauty of the moment, the isolation was overwhelming. Between Kellerberrin and Merredin is a parking spot where I usually stop for a few minutes to stretch my legs. The solitary trees in the paddock and the wide open horizon, is a familiar sight. It was dark every where, yet, the horizon was still bright.I left Merredin a couple of days later, with the silo paintings on my right. They are a welcome sight by day break, but invisible by night.In the dark I knew I had familiar landscape around me. The water pipe, for one. It carries water from Perth to the Goldfields. It was commissioned in the late 1800s and completed in early 1900. It is the lifeline of the people of the Goldfields. I cannot imagine the hardship endured by the workers who constructed this for hundreds of kilometers in harsh country. A reminder, life for me may seem challenging at times, but in comparison, I have nothing meaningful to complain about.At night the air was acrid as I drove through tiny towns with streets empty of people. Bakers Hill, Clackline, Meckering, Cunderdin, Tammin, Kellerberrin. At times a distant glow kept me focused. The farmers were burning paddocks in readiness for seed. I’m impatient for winter to see some of these beige paddocks turn gold with canola.
I have never driven in regional areas at night and had it not been for circumstances, would never have thought I could. But Nature had a trick up her sleeve that night.
With the seduction of another drive under a full moon, I just might!
Until next time
a dawn bird