Friday, July 22, 2011

Love letter to the Huon Valley

To my dearest Huon Valley,

I confess I’d only heard of you once or twice before, in snatches of text or the spoken word and usually in some context with apples. I imagined old trucks and apple boxes, woollen jumpers and men with pipes and hats, flannel shirts and rough hands blistered by splinters. Of woman, steeled by hard work, of sweet pies and spiced apple sauce to accompany the Sunday roast. Of orchard tending, raking carpets of russet Sturmers for the cider presses, the cool stores humming with the cloying aroma of crushed juice.
But I’ve come to learn you are much more than this. My thoughts of you are just reverberations of a time when you were alive with the industry of apples, sadly a time no more.
Yet I find your orchards of old, neglected and gnarled apple trees beautiful in a macabre sort of way. Twisting as if in anguish toward yet another season of torment where fruit will disgorge from limbs and hang, unpicked, inviting an aching mastitis of the branch and frozen in an agonising wait for the relief of Autumn.
Where the apple is your enduring spirit, the many waterways, tributaries creeks, streams and of course your mighty river are your arteries and veins and with each throb, a valley moment sharply focuses but for a second.
I close my eyes and following your coastline and verdant hills in my minds eyes is like languidly running my hands over your waist, little by little over your hips and coming to rest, cupping your glorious curves, your arcs and crevices familiar and yet alluring, promising much to the desirous, inquisitive and persistent enquirer.
Sheds of wood, sheds of iron, bleached or rusting, sentinels standing guard, sprout from you like points on a weathered map or like ancient runes.
White capped mountains, those dark glacial curtains in the distance, in one direction, separating you from the city beyond and in the other direction, a wild untameable landscape threatens to reclaim the hard fought order of your paddocks, fields and orchards.
You have left an indelible mark on me now, how could I ever go back to the linear boundaries of the quarter acre metropolitan confine? You have shown me that life is too short to live somewhere ugly and I’m glad I listened to my instincts when I flew here all those years ago and something stirred inside me as I drove over Vince’s Saddle and descended into your embrace. Something felt right about being here, being with you.
I remind myself of this when in moments that I’m distracted or when I’m mired in small mindedness, a soothing salve for me is to drive and drive I do.
I’ll self medicate with what ends up as an overdose of aural and visual stimulation as I take in aspects of your splendour and I usually end up at the same spot, almost spent, in a post coital flush of sorts.
From the crest of Silverhill, near where I live, I gaze across the river as the cold blue chill of early evening descends on the Huon River, a chorus of smoke plumes, curling skyward from the hearths of many homes all singing from the same Winter songbook. I take a huge lungful of air and regard the expanse before me.
I feel lucky, my glass is half full, the quietness around me like a coat but my heart is making a racket in my chest that I’m sure everyone can hear.
I’m still in love with you, Huon Valley.

Yours always
Steve

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice one Steve. Regards BB

Michelle said...

Beautiful words Steve.

Susan Moore said...

Just beautiful. A very accurate description.

Anonymous said...

Truly lovely Steve, exquisite reading!

Anonymous said...

OMG, what a great read, you cook as well apparently?

Christina said...

Wish that last comment had a "like" button!

GourmetGirlfriend said...

Gorgeous Steve- and Mazzy Star's Fade into you is an ol' fave of mine.
LUVVERLY.

Anonymous said...

How could you have possibly KNOWN that the Huon Valley was to win the 2011 Delicious Produce Award for Best Region?

Hedy said...

Wonderful Steve - you brought tears to my eyes as I recalled mastitis but mostly because it reminded me of true aspects of love Hedy

Jo said...

Isnt it just so refreshing when you come over the hill and look over the valley to home. its a whole different world down here, and i love it.

steve said...

Thanks everyone for reading and your thoughtful and encouraging comments

Clara Beyond said...

The Huon Valley certainly deserves such a fitting love letter.... Since I moved here two Channelsiders have implied (well, said outright actually) that I have chosen to live on the 'wrong' side of the valley. But I love being among the enchanted woods, at the foot of magical mountains, and shrouded in mist every winter morning winter. What better excuse for drinking hot mugs of cocoa, knitting cashmere and alpaca blankets and baking yet another tray of granola? Thanks for your words - and your lovely lounge!

Franklin Hermits... said...

Beautifully captured, thank you for writing this.

Hazel said...

Steve this is such a powerful and yet intimate piece of writing, thank you for letting us read it! It is a truly amazing thing to be in love with a place.

Dillon said...

"My dream became my address." Proust
You hit the nail on the head for me too Steve. I moved here because I had to live somewhere beautiful

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous post Steve!