The first time I left my native Australia was when I moved to New Zealand at the age of twenty three. As the plane lowered over Auckland, my breath was taken away by the green land. So green!
Having grown up in rural Australia where we’d experienced a seven-year drought, the verdant countryside of New Zealand was like nectar for the eyes. And now, after fourteen years living in the north of rural England, I still feel delight when I look out the window and see lush green fields.
Last March I returned to Australia for the first time since living in the UK. There for my father’s funeral, I made sure that I remembered all the things I love about Australia and let them seep into me: strong sunshine first thing in the morning, the scent of eucalyptus leaves, the lively birdsong (very different from polite English birds), and the gregarious nature of the people. One thing I did find odd though was the tough couch grass used for garden lawns. It felt so harsh under my bare feet. The purpose of couch is very practical ~ the grass needs to survive the harsh climate. The grass here in my English garden is soft like a baby’s cheek, and in Summer is covered in daisies.
For quite some time after my return from that trip, I found myself pining for my native land, and for people who were bright and happy rather than reserved and scared to talk.
There’s nothing more fatal for the human soul than believing the grass is greener elsewhere. Like a sheep looking longingly over the fence to the next field, we start to feel deprived, inadequate and in turn we shrink with inner poverty.
What woke me up from this was my husband’s heart attack in January. I was suddenly surrounded by friends from far and near offering their love and support. I may have pined for the more social way of living in Australia, but it turns out that I had everything I needed right here.
The grass is greener where we pay attention. As a writer, it’s important to live in the moment and to observe what is happening around you and within you. For a while, I forgot where to put my attention. I’m so grateful to have noticed the grass beneath my feet ~ right here, right now.