Glimmering dully in the midday heat, journeying through the farmlands of rural Victoria is curiously hypnotic. The sound of the road reverberating through the car is deafening, no matter how loud you turn up the regional radio station. You slow down to 60 kms, passing through hamlets and towns. Slowing down to observe the bazaars, bakeries and brown 80’s brick pubs, it feels like you’re stuck in golden syrup. There’s probably only 50 people who live in this place. Stopping seems impossible, an intrusion into the empty vignette, menacing with empty-cabined prime movers and dry petrol bowsers. Where are the drivers? A 1970’s a-frame Anglican Church and hall are derelict, hot plastic covering broken windows. I can’t help but peek, and imagine the neatly scrubbed parishioners sitting quietly in the warmth. Down by the river, cicadas sing and irritate my ears. The long yellow glass looks inviting, a place to stop in the heat like a schoolgirl on Hanging Rock. I know not to – the snakes sleep there looking to hide from the egg-yellow sun.
I’ve been coming to the stonefruit farm for five years now. It’s in a town peopled by craggy faced farmers squinting against the heat, the sand, the ceaseless supermarket price-crunches and the migration they simultaneously require and abhor. Speedboats whine throughout summer, as the seasonal pickers enjoy their evenings on the river. Utes are the vehicle of choice, hiding the garaged apple-waxed Monaros and the jealousy they may engender from the eyes of day. A highly superstition town, there’s even a lady here who can remove ‘the evil eye’ if it’s been cast on you. The glossy peach trees stand to attention in neat lines, acres long.
I love it when the soft brown kangaroos hop through the dusk, surprised by my presence in between the labyrinth of silent peach trees.