An emotional journey it was. All along the highway of Princes, through the Sale and the Yarragon not tarragon and Bairnsdale of the famous ulcer that my daughter caught and Cann River like Bow River but without a song by Mossyyy. And into the green. The gobsmacking, bolshie, undeniable, up-thrusting, life-affirming green.
Extraordinary, luminous, psychedelic, cabbage, kale and spinach green, erupting like foam on blackened burnt-out tree spikes left pointedly as grim reminders of The Fires. Intricate, determined green tapestries draped miraculously from charred limbs. Two years after the devastation that came before the pestilence and life is thrusting its way relentlessly skyward with a cry of ‘you can’t stop me!’
And I am teary with it. The green. The renewal. The lush and verdant pastures studded with black, brown and white cattle, lazy and contented, mooching, munching, ruminating, high on grass. No amount of Systane drops could soothe my eyes the way these vistas do.
Sweeping up the hill to Bruthen, scene of all that devastation and you’d never know the joint had missed a beat to look at it.
Mind’s eye pictures of the panic and the fire trucks and the roiling smoke and all the now familiar names of obscure country lanes and paddocks tolled out in doleful watch-and-act, leave-now calls crackling through the radio. They all look fine now. Sweet as a bun from the Bruthen bakery or an arty latte at Nowa Nowa.
The winding road beyond Cann River, snaking towards the turn-off at Genoa – still as desolate and lonesome as the spookiest ghost town/bus-stop – and a right turn to Mallacoota.
I’ve made this trip so many times, alone or with my family when they still thought the world of me, that every yard is charged and laid with heartbreak landmines and I can’t stop the leaky tears, the tugging of the heartstrings until a bigger wave washes over me at the sight of yet more green.
Two short years on, the undergrowth is running riot, trees are bursting at the seams and there are rebuilt houses everywhere you drive. Just as many vacant blocks of sad reminders but lots of newly minted homes. The town is coming to, not ever how it ever was but it will not be denied.
The green is everywhere except amongst the ti-tree. Bastion Beach is visible from the road now through sharp black coral reef reminders of the inferno. The golf course is transfigured: there is no rough. You can see straight through from tee-off to the 9th hole.
I never visited Geology Point before on any of our trips. The locus where 3 great bodies of water crash against each other and stratified cliffs lay bare the history of a million tides in ribboned rocks. And above the cliffs beneath great spikes of blackened ti-tree life is flourishing bright and green in infinite variety.