Ah, saturday nights in the bush. A BBQ with friends perhaps, a cosy dinner indoors with a pay TV box office movie or a night writing. Heading into the cooler months its is usually a night writing for me. Except at sowing time. We started last sunday week and although I missed the first two days as I was travelling back from Brisvegas, I soon found myself on relief tractor duty. It’s a bit of a collaborative effort this year with my father and brother also warming the seat. Reduced acreage (due to the floods) meant that there seemed little point putting on another driver. Also with the moisture rising in the paddocks with the cooler weather we are stopping by about 9.30 pm.

I’ve been on relief day duty mostly, except for a six hour stint yesterday and a night – not with the box (TV) – but, in the box, the tractor cabin. It’s amazing the otherwordly feel that the landscape takes on after dark. A good ten kilometres from the main homestead, down the back of our western block with nothing around you except the encroaching darkness and the bright patina of stars and you really do feel like your in the middle of nowhere, especially when you finish up and have to walk back to the truck in the dark.

The countryside feels different. I could hear wild pigs rustling in their nests and the thump of bounding kangaroos who had taken shelter from the wind in some adjoining trees.  The freshly tilled soil was soft as I cut across it to the road and I could smell its dampness. Bush quail fluttered up from the grass near the roadside as I made my way to the truck and I could literally feel the space stretching out in all directions. There is always a feeling of energy coming from the land, but with sunlight blessing the other side of the world,  at night the land feels busier, it seems to me as if there is always alot going on ‘out there’ at night and I’m conscious of getting back to my vehicle quickly and leaving the bush to itself. Some people may say that I’m a scaredy cat, but it’s more being cogniscent of what’s going on around you. The bush comes awake at night and this is ancient land.

From the cabin - daylight