It is roads which connect us in the country. They are the lines which join us together, to markets, to social activities and sporting arenas. The bitumen highways link towns and gravel roads lead to our homes while sandy tracks wind away in secretive meanders between eucalyptus and wattles.
Mailboxes stand like brooches on lapels, drawing the eye. Roadside rogue fruit trees grow. Such trees are mainly apples which flower and fruit in spite of the lack of care. Their existence there is a puzzle. Maybe it was a tossed apple core from a passing vehicle. There are wild roses, too, thriving, despite the lack of pruning.
Our roads are peppered with red and black posts, memorials to injured and killed road victims – human road kill. Some are decorated with the bouquets by enduringly grieved parents who cannot move on from this full stop in their lives.
It would not be uncommon to see a couple of pause together in the long work day. Men with weathered faces and dirty hats talk to each other from their cabins. The pack of kelpies on the trays, stand eyeing each other and with tails erect. Despite mobile phones, you can’t beat a face to face chat.
The carcasses of kangaroos, wombats, foxes and rabbits lie, fallen corpses from the failed risk of crossing the blue bitumen. Bottles and cans litter the edges. They catch and reflect the gleam of headlights when night driving.
In the afternoon heat a yellow school bus skelters along a gravel road with a train of dust billowing out. Children are dropped at gateways and they drag bags slowly up driveways, turning to wave as the bus pulls away.
Thick roadside vegetation harbors an array of wildlife between the expanses of open cropped and grazed country. Here, if you are alert, you can see superb blue wrens, with a flurry of wing beats, hip hop amidst the shrubbery. Crimson rosellas slowly rise into languorous flight at the passing of a stock truck.
In life, we can’t all be on the main highways rumbling with constant activity. However, even the back roads serve their humble purpose in the scheme of things.