…the beginning of a journey
Sometimes I have to pinch myself just to be sure that this isn’t just a dream.
Sometimes I’m overwhelmed that after all the years of just dreaming, we really are here. This is us. This is our place. We’re here.
Right now, I’m sitting with my keyboard on my lap, looking out through the window of my writing room and the view is breathtaking.
As I write, the sky is grey with rain filled clouds waiting to burst, a gentle breeze is ruffling the leaves of the trees beyond my garden, and the hill across the valley is shrouded in fine mist. Even as I type, I hear the beginnings of the gentle patter of raindrops on the roof and I’m immediately taken back to the first day we came here, a little over a year ago.
We didn’t mean to buy. Really. We’d just come out for the drive, ‘dreaming’ as we called it, getting a feel for the countryside and the market. This place had looked pretty in the photographs and was in a desirable location – one that we were sure that we couldn’t afford. We were just browsing.
It was just Matt and me, and we were determined to enjoy a bit of time together. The rain set in as we headed down the highway, leaving the city behind for a quiet afternoon in the country.
We’d been out this way before, when we first moved up from Melbourne years ago, so we knew where we were going. We’d looked at land in the area then, but it was too expensive for right at that moment – Matt had been heading back to studies and I was new to the workforce after taking time to look after our first two children after we’d finished Uni. Our plan then had been to wait a couple of years, get established, and ‘go bush’ when we had a bit more behind us.
Oh – the best laid plans of mice and men…
Life has a way of getting in the way of plans. Suffice to say that a few more years had passed under the bridge than we had foreseen. But the dream was still there, just under the surface, sometimes dormant, sometimes demanding attention.
We turned off the highway onto a road that I remembered as being dirt but had obviously been sealed for quite some time. Okay. I like sealed roads.
We were only ten minutes out of the suburbs, but already deep into farming country, with broad paddocks and grazing sheep on either side of the road. As our windscreen wipers swished back and forth, the view of the countryside changed again, with the land divided into smaller acreage with newer houses, mostly in federation style with sweeping verandas and pretty gardens. Rural lifestyle blocks were dotted amongst the ‘real farms’. Apart from a few cattle, the predominant grazing animals were now horses and alpacas. We came over a crest to a stunning view of a valley spreading out below us, the hills beyond tipped with cloud. Something magical was unfolding.
Soon we had driven across the valley and were making our way through a tree studded pass amongst those clouds, down into another narrow valley where the road was winding between small farms, and disappearing and reappearing ahead of us as it went up hill and down dale. We crossed a rushing creek several times, bumping over picturesque bridges amidst towering poplars resplendent in summer green.
Somewhere along the way the sealed road gave way to dirt, a slippery clay surface riddled with tiny pebbles.
Farms gave way to ‘bush’ – mostly black wattles and white-barked eucalypts, and a few exotics, remnants of a time when the whole valley was given over to farming – and there it was, a lonely blue sign pointing the way to the ‘open-house’.
The driveway seemed to go forever, and by now I was certain that we were too far out of town, too far down the dirt road, surrounded by too many trees, up too steep a hill. Good thing we were only looking.
Matt drove slowly in the garden gate and pulled up beside the real estate agent’s four wheel drive. There was no-one else there, and I almost suggested that we simply turn around and go, but…
…the house could have been the one that we had planned to build all those years ago, and the garden was so pretty.
“Well, we’re here now,” Matt said, and at that moment the agent came out the front door, waving us in with a big welcoming smile.
As we got out of the car, the only sound we could hear was the wind in the trees and the rain on the ground. There was a tangy aroma of eucalyptus and that gorgeous damp earth smell that comes with the rain. Around us were trees, trees and more trees.
We ran across the granite driveway and in through the big glass front door to a slate tiled family room and kitchen under high, timber-lined cathedral ceilings with exposed beams and a view out the back to… take your breath away.
“We’re just looking…” we explained, but I don’t think we sounded very convincing.