A journey is always a gift – even when it presents under sad circumstances. From the disarranged skirts north of Melbourne, the road unravels and slowly rises and bends like a long unwound ribbon.
The places are familiar up as far as Wangaratta – Baddaginnie, Warrenbayne, Tarrawingie, Whitfield, Barnawatha – all places I used to drive up and down to in my early days in practice. Now I wonder about stories of this country and I’m mindful of the first custodians of this land – now displaced by vineyards and sheep grazing.
Up past Albury, after the lads cool down in the Murray and let the river run them around the hook in the River – the sun strikes low on Tabletop Mountain, pushing out through the plateau. Holbrook remains the last town open to the traveller, sitting graciously – even with its peculiar landlocked submarine – as it is flanked by the ever compressing road to Sydney.
We talk too much – about music and such – and miss the turn off to Canberra at Yass. Stars are out in the velvet black with the low half hung moon to the west (the air is still hot outside). We come back down from the north – through Collector – and Canberra’s lights lie stretched out below.