Flame Trees

I’m just savouring familiar sights,
We shared some history, this town and I
And I can’t stop that long forgotten feeling of her.

After seven countries in 12 years, the recurring question continues.

Where was your favourite place to live?

Not once have I ever said home. The real one. My home. The place where I was born, the place I return to. The place that holds a cemetery scattered with my own genealogical stories. We shared some history, this town and I.

As I drove down our main street yesterday with the little travellers strapped in, questions at the ready; a street where I walked bare feet as a child, learned to drive and ordered pizza after a long night at the pub. I was struck by just how beautiful my little hometown is. My eyes failed to see it as a child. Sunsets were ignored, expected. How does one miss such a spectacle each night? I took this town and the glistening river that runs through her centre for granted. I was distracted by the day to day – the stuff that either drove me crazy or I didn’t understand. There was definitely different rules for some of us.

As a child she was everything, but as a teen she began to feel a little plain. She couldn’t offer the excitement of the city. There were far too many times I lost my confidence in recalling her beauty, marred by others when they mocked her lack of interest. I continually broke up and got back together with her. Maybe I could stay here? I hate it here. What am I doing here? I’m not sure I’m cut out for here. There’s nothing to do here. The men here, ugh, the men here, oh maybe, him? Maybe I could stay here? I’m not meant to be here.

When G and I were married and she turned on a blistering hot north wind and 46 degree heat – a friend from Queensland declared her the most unenviable location. “Imagine living here? I thought you said it was green?” It was – when it wasn’t in the middle of a full blown drought. Was it just me? Couldn’t anyone else see her beauty?

But as I sit here watching houseboats move in time with the pelicans, no rush. With thoughts of water-skiing on glass like conditions at sunset, and parties held under gum trees. I wonder how I ever could have been so blind.

Imagine living here?

Yes. Yes I can. I can’t live here now, but yes, I could.

Oh the flame trees will blind the weary driver
And there’s nothing else could set fire to this town
There’s no change, there’s no pace
Everything within its place
Just makes it harder to believe that she won’t be around

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