What glorious warm weather we had Friday afternoon for an impromptu outing on a winter’s day. It was much akin to that of a warm and sunny spring day. I was relishing the warmth and sunshine as it really lifts my spirits. There was a forecast for rain for the upcoming weekend. I knew our days would turn much cooler therefore I would be keen to hibernate. This was enough for me to enjoy it more immensely.
I was sitting by the lake adjacent to Bakita’s Café in the plaza area of Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Fountains of water soared high into the sky. It was so serene listening to the sounds from the movement of the water. I heard the voices of the zoo’s visitors in the background. That was until the echo of the calls from various animals drowned them out. The natural setting was so restorative and soothing. Yet Mother Nature is both friend and foe.
My thoughts drifted to our farmers and those suffering through the drought much of our country is currently experiencing. Mother Nature is surely testing their resilience and fortitude. I had a sense of guilt for enjoying the water in my view. Here I was taking it all in and finding it relaxing whilst close by, farmers and those on the land were desperate for water. A wave of sadness washed over me for all the folks who are suffering through this drought.
Rain has been absent in our region for far too long. The earth is dry and barren. Dams are empty. Paddocks are bare. Feeding stock by hand has been a common practice for not only months but also years in some parts. Water is their lifeline and the rain simply hasn’t arrived. Water tanks run low if they are not already empty. The simple things we take for granted in the urban areas of showering, flushing toilets, washing clothes and dishes can be yet another major challenge for those on the land. There is a great need to closely monitor the water tank levels in order to not run out. Scrupulous use is paramount.
The toll the drought is taking on the farmers and growers who provide our food and clothing has become evident. A number of charities, agencies and government initiatives have emerged to provide assistance. This is in the hope that collectively, this support will give them a chance to take a breath, draw on some more of their incredible strength and forge on until Mother Nature provides the much needed ongoing rains. One of the best things Australians do is help hold one another up during some of the harshest and most challenging times we experience in our country. It has been so heart-warming to witness this over recent weeks. Hay has been transported from state to state, volunteers are providing free labour, donation drives for everyday supplies have been running and schools have been holding special event days inclusive with a hopeful rain dance.
The weekend has brought with it rain. More than the handful of drops received months ago that would evaporate before they hit the ground. The rainfall has been steady allowing it to soak in. The excitement and exhilaration ripples across the communities. I imagine tears of joy have fallen along with the raindrops. A slight sense of relief may also be washing over some. Fingers are crossing that there will be follow up rain. It is not enough to break this drought but it is a start. Where there is hope, there is life.
So my impromptu outing to take a few moments out of my schedule brought about a lot of thought. It became almost guilty enjoyment of breathing room that many on the land are not getting. Thoughts for these amazing people who dig deep, have their resilience tested and push on in order to provide us with the food that graces our tables and the clothing that we wear. I am grateful, thankful and appreciative for what the farmers and growers in our country go through and give to us on a daily basis without us giving them a single thought; until now. May there be no more stock or peoples lives lost due to this drought. May we always band together in support of one another, not only when the times get so incredibly tough. May the rains continue to come and break this drought sooner rather than later!