Yesterday my family departed for the last time, from a special little piece of the earth we’ve been blessed to call our own. This little piece of land has changed us all forever.
I confess that I enjoy procrasti-searching on real estate websites. It’s so easy to find yourself falling into real estate hypothetical la la land. It’s one of my favourite ways to avoid folding the washing or cleaning the bath. (I have many great strategies for this actually, but that’s another story.) Anyway, one fine clothes-pile-laden evening, I found a ripper. I’d been searching for pretty land in pretty places, but not because we were interested in buying. I was searching for fuel to feed the yogi, artist, earth mumma, nature lover, beautiful-thing-maker, creator-of-something-out-of-nothing show reel that I play in my head when I need direction and inspiration.
The photos of this property were oh so pretty, but that’s not unusual for real estate sites. We’ve walked through enough properties to know that you can’t expect an actual property to match its super-lens, digitally-enhanced marketing photos. We booked an inspection partly because the photos were incredible, but also because this property was just out of Marysville - a town that already had our hearts from many years prior, and also a town that maybe needed our love. We hadn’t visited since the Black Saturday bushfires, and a day trip felt overdue. We decided to arrange to visit this property just to see if the pictures were real. They were not just real, they barely did justice to the beauty and the magic, and the vastness, and the wildness. The scars were deep and still pretty fresh, but this land had us at “We’re here”. We were like a corny tv commercial. My husband and I walked in awe, glassy eyed around the land as the children squealed and ran and skipped from one new discovery to the next. They ran their little hands over the charred tree trunks and forged pathways through bushes that scratched their skin and they didn’t even notice. Big daughter hugged trees while little one collected “crystals”. As an artist, my mind was wild with possibilities, ideas, projects, potential. This fourteen acres of raw, wild bushland with a tragic past became ours 6 months later.
This is not the first time or the last time that a procrasti-search has ended in a purchase, but this was especially unexpected and could be filed under “Acts of Great Intent and Enormous Optimism”.
Should we name it? Suggestions from the back seat came fast “Friends Road!” from the older blue-sky girl. “Long-time-to!” from the little one who doesn’t like winding roads. “The Beech” the front seat agreed, still in awe of the ancient Beech Myrtles we’d wandered through on the last visit. We called it all of these things, and more.
As we spent time there over the years that followed, we made big plans and dreamed beautiful dreams of what this place could become. Our children made markets and cafes from sticks, rocks and found rusty things. They made billy teas from the plants they found and learned to recognise, and made perfume from whatever was around that particular season. They made a skink hospital. We met locals. We made friendships we intend to keep. We learned so much about our land. Camping with a tent, and no running water or power, we had to. We did endless research into the history of the land and the vegetation of the area. We found Indigenous land management philosophies that were worlds away from what our trusted authorities prescribe. No surprises there. We did our best to give back to the land what it needed, and what it once had, but we also stood still a lot and watched nature’s recovery processes taking place. All this, while every time we visited eagles soared above, watching us too. We didn’t do everything we’d planned, not even close.
Now we are handing it on to the next custodians and I know they’ll have big plans and dreams like we did - it’s that kind of place. We hope they spend many happy years watching and learning and growing as they too become a part of this special land.
So how has it changed us all forever? How did Marysville make us? I don’t yet know exactly what the special purpose of this whole exercise was in our lives. Along with the joy and adventure, there was also some stress, backache, and a bicycle cog through a little big toe. I do know though, that I will look back on all of this one day and see that it was transformative for all of us, and maybe I’ll even find the words to describe it. It’s not so obvious in the present moment to see the effects of any such journey but in the rear view mirror of life I’m sure it will be clear.
If not, that was some very expensive camping.
See you soon Marysville xo