A rainy Sunday.
Today I want to tell you about another birth.
Two mountains featured in my childhood. The mountain on which I was born and the mountain on which I was bought up.
Today I want to take you to the mountain where I was born.
But first let me set the scene.
The Vietnam War still raging, more than 17 years after it started.
The Age of Aquarius in full swing, large exoduses of people from cities to the country, looking for peace and a self sufficient existence.
Afraid of a nuclear world war?
My parents, no exception, on their exodus they found a mountain and made a home.
The mountain they found was scrubby and dry, west of Sydney, near the Hawkesbury River. The forest eucalypt, the ground, leaf covered and tinder dry, clumps of dry brown grass. The earth, solid sandstone with patches of sandy soil. The only water to be found, if it had rained recently, collected in little pools in the sandstone outcrops, a bit like rock pools at the beach.
They called this mountain Magic Mountain. There is probably a story behind the name but I’ve searched my memory banks, it’s nowhere to be found.
Not another soul on this mountain. Just wilderness and wildlife.
My father worked on the Wisemans Ferry down on the river, we lived at the top of the mountain.
No car, no radio, no clock.
I was born sometime in the middle of the night, between January 5th and January 6th, 1973.
Dad lit the fire to heat some water.
I was born by candle and fire light.
Dad tied my umbilical cord.
Years later we visited Magic Mountain with our father. I remember a small cave in a sandstone wall and scant evidence of people once living there, a fork, a broken bowl?
What did the house look like? Built in my imagination from snippets of what Dad told us and knowledge of the house they built on the next mountain, I picture a small rustic house constructed out from the cave. Handmade, a panel front door with a love heart cut into it, a stone chimney that attempted to guide the smoke from the house. Windows? In my mind I see two little four pane windows on either side of the door, a bit uneven, giving the house a friendly lopsidedness, winking, welcoming. Made even more so by colourful handmade curtains.
Outside, chickens and a goat roaming free?
I imagine some rocky flower gardens and a little vegetable patch but I’m not sure how they survived the chickens and goat? Or how they grew in the sandy dry soil?
An old forty gallon drum collecting rainwater.
One week old, no one knew I had arrived.
Mum, keen to show me off, her newborn daughter, strapped me to her front and walked me and my brothers down to the ferry.
At the ferry I was introduced to the ferry master and the passengers.
Have a wonderful day!