Today, I show you my dirt.
When we first moved back here in 2008, after having spent a decade in the city, it was the middle of autumn. The days were clear and sunny, the nights cool and crisp. There'd be dew in the mornings. The signs of a hot summer were slowly being overgrown by the promise of winter. Perhaps it was just the excitement of starting something new, or the awe of all the wide open space that made me completely oblivious to the dirt.
People in the neighbouring towns call us "Dirt Farmers". Our town is situated on flats between the mountain ranges, surrounded by farming and grazing land. Rocky outcrops dominate the horizon, with creeks that are bone-dry most of the time, and saltbush plains that stretch for miles and miles... People plough and plant the same fields every year, keep too much stock and let them overgraze. I thought "Dirt Farmer" was a pretty clever observation, but I never thought it would be a term I'd apply to myself.
Let me tell you about the dirt: It's everywhere, and not just outside. It's evident not only in the garden or out of town. It is everywhere, all of the time.
It doesn't matter what season, or what direction the wind is coming in from. It doesn't even matter if there is no wind at all, or whether the house is open or closed-up, there will still be dirt.
It is dirt that covers every surface and finds its way into every corner, nook and cranny. It sits on bricks, stores itself on windowsills, between doors, and on flyscreens. Every time we walk on the hardwood floors we kick it up, move it around and stir the allergies. I can clean it away, but the dirt will be back the next day, making it look as though I've not done a thing.
I have developed a new understanding of that term, in its full context. If dirt were worth a dime, I'd be rather well-to-do right now.