Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except a cat and a collection of Australian parrots, finches, canaries and a dozen hens.

Monday, February 09, 2009

My Country

The Reefton Spur Road a year ago.

The last time we visited Marysville, a year ago. This is now all gone. Just ash and rubble.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.

The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.

This was written by Dorothea MacKellar in 1906, and was taught to every school child in Australia for many years (I don't know if it still is). There is a first verse which I haven't included here, as it refers to England, where Dorothea was born.
Well as much as I love our sunburnt country, there are times like the last few days when I envy those of you in icy England. We live about half an hour's drive from Kinglake, which was just about obliterated by the fires there. It was one of our favorite destinations for a bike ride on sunny weekends. I'm glad to have taken many photos up there, and of Marysville, the delightful little town which was totally wiped off the map, as the media has described it. Over 100 people dead, and still counting. Over 700 houses burnt, and still counting. Untold numbers of animals, both farm stock and wildlife, burnt alive. It is possible that some species of endangered critters are now extinct. But I still love this Sunburnt Country.


Blogger Alice said...

Oh, Gina, I'm so sorry for the losses your beautiful country is suffering. It is truly heartbreaking. The poem brought tears to my eyes as I imagined you typing it at your computer.

Tuesday, 10 February, 2009  
Blogger Finding My Way said...

Gina. I'm at lose for words. I'm glad you have pictures you can share. I know it will take some time before it all comes back but it will. I just hope that brings some comfort.

Tuesday, 10 February, 2009  
Blogger Crazee4books said...

Hi Gina,

I've been thinking of you and all
my Australian blogging friends
during these past few days. It's
so horrible what's been going on
and hard to imagine. Your pictures
are heartbreaking to look at. Such
a lovely little town and now it's

Tuesday, 10 February, 2009  
Blogger Virtual Quilter said...

I still love our sunburnt country of droughts and flooding rain, but sometimes it reminds us to treat it with respect.
Judy B

Tuesday, 10 February, 2009  

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