“Go,” his father said. “Take this chance.”
So Carl left. One brief email accepting the scholarship – as easy as that. Dad watched as he drove off.
Four hours on the road, in a daze of uncertainty, and now these stupid sheep with their blank eyes and manic bleating had brought him to a stop and set him remembering.
Nine dry years. They’d battled on, the two of them, till all their stock was dead or sold for a pittance.
“Go,” he’d urged. “I’ll be okay.”
The road cleared. Carl started up, then turned, stirring up dust. He’d be back home before dark.
For 27 years we lived in Dubbo, in the central west of New South Wales, and although we lived in town, the struggles of the farmers were never far from our minds, especially during the nine long years of drought that finally broke not long before we moved away. This week’s prompt took me back to those years and the struggles faced by farming families.
The sheep in Sandra’s photo look well fed and healthy, but during bad times farmers here will take their starving sheep along the roads, letting them graze on the grasses that survive along the roadside. It’s known as ‘the long paddock’.