When I turned 40 my aunt hand made a patchwork quilt. It is a cherished gift. The unique creation has pride and place in my bedroom. I appreciate the patience to make a quilt such as this – cutting the shapes perfectly and sewing straight lines so the shapes look symmetrical and fit together. It is an impeccable work of art, the artist knowing what colours and patterns work together, having a long term vision of the end product and scrutinizing the creation as it slowly comes together with every additional piece and stitch.
I have utmost respect for that perseverance, skill and care.
As I flew out of Tamworth this week and scanned across the plains from an eagles point of view I was reminded of my quilt.
Its October. The days are warming and growing longer. The nights are warming too as I ditch the winter warm covers, replacing with summer sheeting and open windows searching for a cooling breeze.
The patchwork plains below me see the seasons colliding.
There are winter crops with golden heads bursting with grain. The winter pastures are patterned with sheep, like puffy cotton buds dotted through the verdant pasture.
To balance natures quilt there are squares of bare earth, paddocks lying in readiness of their summer duty. The forecasted showers of rain will be welcome to plant the sorghum, sunflowers and summer grasses.
The symmetry of straight lines, squares and rectangles are broken by winding rivulets. The interlacing are shallow, sometimes just puddles rather than strong flowing streams. A reminder of the dry last gasps of winter we have experienced this year.
Remnants of our native vegetation are buttoned through the quilt. These are beacons to wildlife, standing tall over the collage of modern farming like a protector and link to the origin of the landscape.
The plane climbs through the clouds of the hunter valley – the next time I see land it is a complete contrast. My patchwork homeland replaced by city structures, steel, hustle, bustle.
As I travel the now familiar path from airport to train station I am stopped by another woman.
“Hello. I wonder if you can help” I recognize her from my flight; she had sat across the aisle from me. I am always willing to help a fellow country visitor, this city can intimidating.
“I see you are on the way to the train station. I usually take a taxi, but this time I’m ready to brave the train. Can I walk with you?”
I knew exactly the feelings of doubt and trepidation that she would be experiencing. That was me a few years ago!
“More than happy to help” I offered with comfort and a welcoming smile.
I guided her in buying a ticket, getting through the gate, which platform. I gave her tips on where to stand, letting her in on the secret to walk a little along the ends of the platform, its less hectic and less crowded.
I could see her nervousness slowly abating as we chatted about our lives back home. Less than ten minutes later we parted ways. As I stepped off at my stop I assured her she will be fine.
“I’m Sharon by the way” she blurted, with a bambi fear in her eyes
“Good luck Sharon, you will be an old hand at this in no time” I waved as I entered the stream of city people and Sharon braved the city trains alone.