When Dad sold our family home a few years back, I felt like my ties with my hometown had been somewhat severed. It was not an issue of fault, but rather of time. We had all moved on, grown up, and headed off into our own lives. That big house wasn’t something Dad could maintain anymore, and to be honest it wasn’t something he wanted to maintain. So, he partnered up with my older brother J, and sorted himself out a bush house on the back of J’s block in the sticks of Darwin.
You’ve actually seen a glimpse of this place before, in the story about the Garden Boat, but during my practical this little bush house became something of a refuge from the many responsibilities I was dealing with as a pre-service teacher. From planning lessons, to getting assignments in on time, to trying to see the multitudes of people I was attempting to catch up with over the time I was there, Dad’s bush house was my little getaway from life.
Early rising, coffee on the stove, cooking up a storm of rich favourites from the wonders of Dad’s pantry, it was something like a holiday, but with the familiar trappings of home. Mangoes and beef rendang, cream in coffee and lots of gardening, the bush house is very much Dad’s place, and that suits him (and me) just fine.
Dad grows lotuses and orchids around his home, along with citrus and whatever is left of the Garden Boat. There’s bamboo alongside bushland, and chilli plants growing wild at the edge of his little slice of landscaped lawn. I love to wake up as the sun rises and take my camera to capture the way the light runs through the tall native trees. The smell of ti tree hovers in the air, and all around me birds call to new mates and old, heralding another day. It’s a simple life, but a good one, and Dad loves what he has created.
We do too.