We went on every school and guide camp, growing up.
There was always plenty of hiking, campfire cooking and fun, particularly when caves and gorges were involved.
Carnarvon Gorge is one of my favourite camp locations, though it’s been years since I’ve been, I can still remember many of the amazing natural formations, and learning how everything functioned throughout the gorge and its many different features.
The thing that has always stuck with me was microclimates. I’ve witnessed hundreds more locations that have their own, but the Carnarvon one was where it was taught to me, so it sits highest in my memory.
Entering a space with a microclimate, in this case, a stunning little rainforesty/waterfally/straight out of fern gully, hidden in the stone gorge piece of paradise, just feels different! It feels special. Magic. The air is sweeter, the plant life lush and green. There’s this mini little environment, totally doing it’s own thing, amid the outside world and influences. It feels peaceful.
Nature is so awesome.
This is possibly the only way I can explain, to the uninitiated, small towns. They too have their very own, very special, microclimate.
35 years and I will still sing the praises of little towns, from their hand poured driveways, to their community built churches and pubs. From the busy body dobbers, to the rebel teens and frustrated coppers.
These towns, our towns, are different.
My town, Tieri, is clearly my favourite example.
Being a baby on the coal mining scene, there were no established roots there.
But over time, they were sown deep into the earth, and my heart never left when I did, 16 years ago.
It’s a strange phenomenon to outsiders, this microclimate. And much like the gorge, it makes a place so much better, fresher, it makes a place grow, and feeds and sustains friendships and love.
The relationships that Tieri provided for me, and my family, are the greatest and strongest we have.
No where else, but little towns like ours, will you find people to stand by you and support you through grief, pain, and sorrow. People who will celebrate your achievements with genuine happiness, people who will join hands and walk through the scrub to flush out a prowler, people who will fundraiser their days off away, to help raise money for a mate, who will help you clean up when your roof blows off in a storm, who will build and maintain a memorial, people who pass no judgment on a teenage mum and dad, people who form a village to raise all of their children.
People who make your heart ache just to think of, coz you just miss them so darn much.
That little microclimate is in your heart forever. No matter where you go.
Fear and loss, made me decide a very long time ago, to never leave a word unspoken. I love, a lot. And I know that if anything were to unexpectedly change in my life, the people I love will not doubt for a second, just how special they are to me.
Yesterday, people from lots of little microclimate towns, gathered to say goodbye to a truly wonderful man.
We embraced, and wept, wiped tears and smiled. Caught up and reminisced, laughed and loved and wept some more.
I threw my I love you’s around like confetti, but not flippantly, not wastefully.
My love is genuine.
There were no words left unsaid for this beautiful family. Though the pain is just as raw.
So we grieve together in the hope that it can ease some of their pain, help to heal their hearts, that are breaking, so badly.
We band together, to cushion the blow.
Because that’s just what small town folk do.
I told you small towns were special.
It’s very Ed Sheeran, but true. These small town people raised me.
And I miss them.
I only hope that my children can look back on their childhoods and appreciate what we’re doing for them, by raising them here in our medium town!
Every friendship forged, every memory, every community event, all the highs and the lows, shared amongst some of the best people in the world.
I want to thank my parents for taking a leap of faith all those years ago. Without that blind faith, l would never have met all the people who have made my life fuller, funner, richer, and just better. And I really do love you all.
It’s a microclimate thing.