Catch the Evening Breeze

November 16, 2021 by

A mother reminisces about life “in the outback,” New South Wales, Australia:

When it comes to boys a life that is spare and a land that is rough might be the best. There’s no TV, no smart phone, no keyboards that they ever touch. School’s in a converted shed, but much of the essential learning happens outside.

Water is scarce so when it rains everyone is happy. You’d think it would be nice for the children in a hot, dry country to go barefoot. But the snakes are deadly so the boys wear sturdy footwear all year round.

Boys . . . it was a good five years of growing up. Life was simple, the paddocks windswept and thistly. There was a weed whip engine discarded in a dumpster and a dirt bike to build. Boys to build it with and others to race against.

Daytime we had skies of unrelenting blue. Nights were so black you could lose your way between houses. Till the stars came out, hanging low over our heads, near dazzling us as Scorpio sprang wide across the southern sky. Boys, brown and wiry, slept deep.


These two boys climbed on to a high shed roof at the stockyards above our rural property, “Shanta Clare,” to catch the evening breeze to fly a red kite. I had to sketch fast.


About the author

Pauline Harrison

Pauline Harrison

Pauline Harrison lives with her husband Mark at Platte Clove.

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