It has been a jarring start to the new decade. Fires have wrought stunning devastation across the length and breadth of our country; our friends and neighbours in the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island have been terribly affected.
It feels like every time I’m in the supermarket there’s another horror story about a near miss, or someone’s cousin who lost everything over East.
Millions of native animals have died in awful circumstances. It has been – and in some cases continues to be – very bleak indeed.
For many people the Christmas and New Year period is a time of reflection and thoughtfulness.
Maybe a few extra days off work; downtime with the family.
Less frantic mornings might mean the opportunity to gaze into your coffee for an extra moment or two.
This year, I feel like there’s been an outpouring of reflection and resolution prompted by the horrific bushfire season that’s still unfolding around us.
No more plastic bags! Take my own containers to the deli counter!
Less red meat, more time with my kids, wean myself off social media (Sigh. Good luck).
This year, while I was gazing into my coffee during some of those precious quiet moments, the word that kept popping into my mind was “connection.”
I kept coming back to the idea that in this swirling world of ecological suffering, environmental destruction, danger and uncertainty, what feels good, what feels like a salve to an anxious heart, is connection.
I believe strongly in the power of communities to overcome adversity, practise resilience and create a better world for each other and our children, and I believe that one of the most powerful ways to do this is by building and supporting connection.
I know that can sound esoteric and intangible, but there’s one very concrete way that I practise connection in my life. I go to the farmers market.
Less plastic. More chatting. It’s good for what ails me.
We’re so fortunate to enjoy two excellent famers markets in our region – the Mt Pleasant Farmers Market and the Barossa Farmers Market in Angaston.
I’ll admit; I was a bit out of practice. I forgot my shopping caddy, didn’t remember my KeepCup, only barely had enough calico bags… But as I wandered/chased my children around the stalls, it occurred to me that this is exactly the kind of connection that’s been missing from my life lately.
It is so very good for me. This is gentle, kind and genuine.
There were chats about the cricket, polite remarks about how very lively young Charlie has become, reflections on the weather (of course), and best wishes for our daughter starting school. It was a balm.
So, this new, regular column will – I hope – be a conduit for a little bit of connection through the Barossa.
I’ll be telling the hidden stories of the Barossa, highlighting some special gems that don’t often see the spotlight and sharing my love for this very special region.
I hope you’ll join me in seeking out a little bit more of a connection throughout our community.
And just remember, if you do forget your KeepCup the next time you’re at the Barossa Farmers Market, keep an eye out for some of the Op Shop gems they have there for your sipping pleasure.
I found a 1978 Tanunda Liedertafel Commemorative Mug and I swear my long black tasted all the better for it!