I have a long drive to and from work each day, an hour each way. When I first started at my job last year I used the motor ways to get there. It seemed a fairly reasonable drive. But I didn’t realise that the cost of doing this daily would be prohibitive. I therefore take the back roads, to avoid the tolls but alas, not the slow drivers. This can be a source of frustration sometimes.
As I drove home today I noted, as I often do, what a funny sort of drive it is, the strange scenery, the mixture of houses and properties and the things you see in the front yards. The houses are set widely apart, not in any kind of order and all of them are on large, large-ish or extremely large parcels of land. Oddly, I drive from the centre of a south west Sydney suburb, home to the Blue Mountains, through what basically seems like a rural area.
I’m trying to be more mindful so today instead of cursing the gigantic truck in front of me for slowing me down, I took in my surrounds. I drove past the house with sheep grazing in the front yard, at least four of them, who keep the grass down but don’t seem to destroy the garden. Next there’s a house with two enormous lions in the front, on either side of the entrance. Their stone lions of course, not the real thing but they seem just as out of place as actual lions would be along this interesting stretch of road.
On the right hand side of the road I see a stable, with horses in a yard but I never see any people. Up ahead on the left hand side of the road I see three properties in a row, each with large paddocks and each, inexplicably, filled with Shetland ponies. It just seems so strange to me that it isn’t just one Shetland, it appears to be a whole bunch of people breeding them or something. What could they be used for? Do they sell them as pets? How shall I ever find out?
Just before I come to the end of this road, I see a Christmas tree farm on the left which has rows and rows of pine trees, quite small but also more fully grown than I would have thought at this time of year. On the right hand side is a sign for a stand selling fruit, but I never see any fruit being sold there. And finally, on the corner is a very large house which has a rich and elaborate sculpture of what appears to be the nativity scene (although I am not sure) sitting in the front yard. It would be at least 6 feet tall and it’s on some sort of pedestal. I don’t know whether they can’t face taking it down because of it’s size or whether it’s just a regular biblical scene with no yuletide connotations at all so it just stays up all year. I will never know of course because it’s unlikely I will ever get to meet any of the inhabitants of these places.
But it keeps me present on my long drive home. It keeps me wondering and I often hope that one day the fruit stand will be selling actual fresh fruit and I can stock up on the way home. In the meantime I will keep noticing what is around me and making up stories for all of the people in the houses along my way, who I know absolutely nothing about.