I touched down in Alice and was greeted by these great open space and bright blue skies that, amid the constant rain and grey of the east coast, I had begun to miss. Don’t get me wrong though, I loved every roll, crash and rumble of the torrential storms back east, but it felt like cabin fever was setting in. My eyes were craving a good stretch, all the way up to the horizon. I had had my fill of city skylines and backyard fences. So I was excited to come down the steps onto the tarmac shimmering with heat and whipping with wind.
Really though I should have known better than to trouble a friend and organize a lift from the airport to town. For one, it would have saved them the petrol and two, that airport is simply buzzing with comings and goings at this time of year. There were a couple of people that I could have jumped in with, though it was a good reminder of how time truly trickles in the Territory; not a lot to do with what the clock says.
Anyway, eventually I was picked up and on the ride into town caught up on the gossip and happenings in town over the last five weeks. Another big tip fire; smoking for days on interminably burning tyres. Lots of bandaged limbs and lots of funerals. The death of a young Aboriginal man in police custody. Trees being pulled up (nothing new!) and more fires. The train derailment further north that spilt copper concentrate containing uranium. Well actually I heard about that incident on the east coast and thought how lucky Alice has been (so far) with that freight passing regularly right through the centre of town.
My lucky stars continued and I was pleased to find that my van was not the molten melted mess I feared it would have become with the soaring summer temperatures. Also that it was still where I had left it. On the other hand though my dear little kitty was so limp and heat stroked I took to prodding her regularly to check for any small signs of life. Prodding that she duly returned in the cool of the evening with her nocturnal body clock in full swing whilst I tried to haul sleep from my bed of sweat!
My first weekend back I set off for Two Mile to make sure all was in order. The water was perfect and all the stars were out, blinking ‘good evening’ as I exclaimed, “Long time no see!” And all is well, my favorite spot remains my most favorite spot. Clear skies, blue skies and ‘sky’s the limit’ kind of space.
So I’m really glad to be back as another long late summer evening draws to a close and I wonder how this year will unfold for this town and me. There is a lot of negativity around the town (conversations, letters to the editor and news comment streams) in regards to its businesses or lack thereof, crime and violence. Valid and in need of discussion are conversations around the town’s future but I feel like it’s just as important to continue validating and celebrating and working to protect the things that make this place so unique and why we chose to live here in the first place. Did I say I’m excited?