Weekly photo challenge: Future Tense and Time

Ailsa has thrown out a challenge to find a photo with the theme of time, and the Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to think ‘future tense’.  Today my husband and I went to a new place called the Arboretum, born out of fires which burnt much of western Canberra ten years ago.  To replace what we no longer have and to help the city recover, especially those who lost all their possessions in the fires, 250 hectares have been planted with large numbers of rare or endangered trees. There are numerous stands of trees to walk and play in, outdoor entertainment areas, lookouts and hilltop sculptures.  This word sculpture had me reflecting on time, 105 years of it.

Sculpture, Arboretum, Canberra (with husband)
Sculpture, Arboretum, Canberra (with husband)

Core of my heart

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins —
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies…
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains
Of ragged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror —
The wide brown land for me!

Dorothea Mackellar published this poem in 1908, four years after she wrote it at the age of 19.  It’s now such an Australian icon that its lines frequently appear in news articles and tourism literature.  One in particular is well-known:  ‘I love a sunburnt country’.  But during years of drought, of which we have many, the phrase ‘wide brown land’ is invoked.  Now Dorothea’s words are immortalised in a huge steel sculpture in the form of her handwriting from the manuscript held in the State Library of New South Wales.  The sculptors were Marcus Tatton, Futago and Chris Viney.

Imagine writing something (at 19!) that would be sculpted a hundred or so years later and placed high on a hill in a capital city.  The words are part of Dorothea’s future, and the Arboretum is part of Canberra’s future.

View from Dairy Farmers Hill, Arboretum, Canberra
View from Dairy Farmers Hill, Arboretum, Canberra.   Our land is wide, but right now it’s not at all brown!

PS  These are phone photos, taken with a Samsung in the spirit of phoneography month.

11 Replies to “Weekly photo challenge: Future Tense and Time”

  1. And like us, you probably treasure the green when it comes. The Arboretum itself is irrigated with dam water so it will probably never be brown!

  2. I’m sorry I made you homesick but I’m glad I made you remember our wide brown, and sometimes green, land. Still, you’re in NZ, I believe. Not far away.

  3. Some of the ACT is also brown, the grass dry. The Arboretum is green because it has its own water supply. I like your blog. I’ve just been reading some of it.

  4. I’ve heard it’s a good exhibition, but I’m not a Toulouse Lautrec fan and have not been, but there’s still time. A Turner exhibition is coming in June – that’ll be a good one.

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