Valley by Diane Briggs (McFarlane)
I love this valley.
'You who have not loved her, you will not understand' - apologies to Dorothea MacKeller for using the words of her wonderful poem but they apply so aptly to my feelings about this place.
Tucked away so securely under the protective gaze of the mountain, this valley is special for me.
A suburb of the Capital City, nestling adjacent to the Wellington Park reserve, it has the best of both worlds – city conveniences and bush retreat.
Silver clear waters flow down the side of the mountain, rippling over pebbles and boulders, through the bush and past the houses, eventually making their way down the creek to the river; from the mountain whose paths I have walked, to that river in which I have swum.
The imposing columned Parthenon styled building set amongst modern homes is not incongruous, for its links past and present. My past and present. This is the place of my childhood, and my old age!
Mount Wellington, looming above, is a midden of memories.
I understand this valley; its streets, its structures, and hold their history in my heart. I have lived their changes. Trams long gone, yet I still feel them, rattling down the middle of the road to town. The small corner stores have all been swallowed up and the 'weekly order' is no longer delivered by a friendly grocer, or butcher. And yet it is convenient to slip down to the local supermarket to buy milk rather than putting a billy out on the front step each night for the milkman to fill. The echo of the horse and cart still resonates. The market garden, long gone, now covered in buildings – but I know it was there! The Methodist church which was so much a part of my early life has had many reincarnations and is now accommodation units, but 'Jesus loves me, this I know' is still part of the fabric of my being.
The people of the valley; many of them are long gone too, but their lives, so entwined with mine, live on in my memories.
The sense of community is strong here. Whether I visit the Newsagent or the Doctors or the Chemist or the Bakery or the IGA, there is always someone who will stop to have a yarn, catch up on news of friends and brighten up the day.
History has brought this valley full circle. The wallabies, possums and other wildlife have moved out of the bush to reclaim the streets and gardens. Their genetic memory is akin to mine and this lovely valley is part of our 'Dreaming'.