Hut on The Overland Track, Tasmania, 1991.
I once heard an aboriginal elder remark that their country, this land, is their church and that abusing it as we Westerners do, is like desecrating one of our places of worship.
I get that. This place, Australia, touches my soul.
The Narcissus River, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania, 1991.
Having stood under an almost limitless sky in 51'C in a desert, watched a spectacular electrical storm roll in across an open plain, stood beneath trees so tall I couldn't see the tops, squelched through sodden rainforest and across alpine heathlands, driven on an endless number of country roads through any number of changing types of vegetation - mulga scrub, red gum forests, coastal tea tree stands, expansive grass lands - I also get why Australians are so irreverent and dismissive of authority; they know, instinctively, that the worst punishment dished out by bureaucracy pales in comparison to that of Mother Nature. Floods, bushfires, plagues of mice and locusts, droughts - hell, even being bitten on the bum by the proverbial Redback (spider) on the toilet seat - we've got it all.
Karlu Karlu (The Devil's Marbles), Northern Territory, 1986.
And so I come to my lack of blogging mojo lately.
I was involved in a minor fender-bender recently - not my fault and everyone was OK - which resulted in the car being away for repairs for a while, so there was lots of good old-fashioned walking, giving me plenty of time for quiet contemplation.
Finally it came to me on one of my walks, that the reason I am enjoying blogging less and less lately, is that I am no longer blogging authentically.
By that I don't mean that I am not doing the things I blog about, but that the things I blog about are only part of the equation for me; only half of the reason I seek to live more simply and sustainably.
The Daintree Rainforest, Far North Queensland, 1998.
It appears that the less I bog about the environment, the more readers I get. That upsets me; it seems to me as though the more I move away from writing about what fundamentally motivates me to learn the domestic skills that most of us have lost over the past generation or two, the more appeal I have.
Indeed, any time I mention Climate Change or Peak Oil, I get a large number unsubscriptions.
Homestead ruins, The Coorong National Park, South Australia, 1992.
The final nail in the coffin came a couple of weeks ago when a fellow blogger remarked that it was nice to see simple living bloggers moving away discussing peak oil and 'organising action against global warming' and more towards showing their planning and domestic skills; that this is a positive change for the better.
Rawnsley's Bluff, Wilpena Pound, South Australia, 1993.
Reclaiming lost skills and learning to live more frugally is vitally important, but I am, at best, an "indifferent housekeeper", to use the words of Sharon Astyk, and I suspect will never find the meditative nirvana that many knitters seem to feel. I avoid sewing pretty much anything that doesn't involve straight lines, I lack the creativity to ever be labelled a 'foodie' and my baking will certainly never win awards. Though I don't care (and that isn't the point of learning), given a choice, a good book and a glass of wine would win hands down every time over balancing our budget or planning our weekly menu. But I persist.
Bool Lagoon, South Australia, 1992.
Ramsar-listed Wetland of International Importance
However, by itself, knowing how to knit will not bring about a timely and efficient public transport system.
Knowing how to cook from scratch will not stop McDonalds from marketing aggressively to my children.
Knowing how to make my own household products will not stop Big Business from heavily influencing (some would say 'controlling') government policy.
Mt Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, 1996
I'm tired of censoring myself.
I want to blog about how angry I am about the government's failure to implement realistic carbon-reduction targets.
But I don't.
I want to whinge about how hard it is to protect my kids from being teased about not watching commercial television, the contents of their lunchbox or that our house 'smells funny' because I've been pickling.
But I don't.
I want to write about how socially alienating it is to have almost nothing at all in common with the other parents watching their kids play sport.
But I don't.
And so adieu; I'm giving up my blog. I've no idea at this stage whether it will be a permanent or temporary thing, but I do know that I can't continue to only blog about 'nice', homely topics; there are literally thousands of bloggers out there who do it so much better than I and the proof starts with my blogroll. I won't be closing this blog as such, so my archives will remain online.
Thank you for joining me for part - or even all, for a few of you - of my family's journey towards a more sustainable future in suburbia. You all totally rock.