Hello! Lovely to see you! Here you will find random posts about living a creative life in country Australia. I am an illustrator. I create, take photos, faff, collect, teach. Watercolour, collage, colour, cheese, travel and dreaming are my faves. And Turkish delight. And cushions. And gardening. And op-shops...

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

#myday #shareaustralia ORANGE SNOW



Ominous grey clouds outside of Cargo, snow on vines and paddocks of white

#myday
#shareaustralia
ORANGE SNOW

It's Sunday, the last day of the school holidays. Cold and damp, the weather reflects my mood - a little sad that reality is about to begin again. Schoolday - get up, heater on. Greet dogs. Wake kids. Boil the jug. Wake kids. Make breakfast. Yell at kids. Make coffee.  Breathe and sigh. Nag kids again... etc. etc. etc.

After a few weeks of chillin',just pottering around the house, a little trip to Canberra and then hanging out as a family, it is with quiet dread that I realise this little interlude is ending. So this day I let the kids sleep in, grab a cuppa, enjoy the silence , turn on my laptop (Minnie) and turn on Facebook (oh yes, such a modern Mum). Scrolling around, I see a post from a dear and lovely friend, who lives an hour away in Orange. And OMG! She has snow falling in her yard, and her girls are having snowball fights! OMG!

So the weather forecasters were bang on, and snow has come to the central West NSW. Now I know I am a grown up, and a Mum, an adult... supposedly mature. But like a 5 year old I began bouncing around "SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!" I instantly hatched a plan - we have to go and see that snow. Running upstairs I woke the hairy surly teenage son, the lovely tweenie daughter, turned on their lights, threw back the donnas, and declared - "GET UP GET UP GET UP YOU LAZY SODS, WE ARE GOING TO SEE THE SNOW IN ORANGE!"

Down in her room, the opera singing 8 year old daughter bounced outta bed like a shot, as excited as me,ambling downstairs came the tweenie who was happy too - but more moderate in her display of excitement, and then the teenager looked totally less than thrilled at the prospect. 

However, with bribes of buying lunch and catching up with our friends, an hour later I had packed plastic bags, towels, spare clothes, gloves, beanies, scarves, gumboots and had determined that the kids had enough layers on that Michelin man would be proud. Hubby - who had to stay behind because of work commitments - was visibly anxious at the prospect of us zooming the hours drive away to Orange on icy roads and imperfect conditions. I reassured him that I would be ultra careful, put the car in 4WD, and not hoon along. AND WE WERE OFF! Orange snow, here we come!

40 minutes later, through Canowindra, then the little village of Cargo(where the pants are made... cargo pants!.. old family joke, sorry), and the temperature began dropping on the cars gauge. 7 degrees, 6 degrees, 5 degrees, 4 degrees...and in the distance grey clouds sat heavily, full and dark. 3 degrees...

THERE IT WAS! The first view of white, slashed on the mountains ahead. Patches of it began to adorn the roadside. Spontaneous singing of "Frozen" songs began in earnest. Drats though, it had begun to rain. "Will it wash away the snow Mummy?" the 8 year old asked.... Gosh, I really hope not I think. Ahead I see a turnoff to Mt. Canobolas, and at the crossroads there is a BIG area covered in snow, with  a few other families there doing the same thing. We pull over, park, and the girls are zippy and fizzy, beside themselves and  huge beautific grins from ear to ear. The teenager tough is still playing it cool.(bad pun, sorry)

Car doors swing open, feet first the girls jump out, giggling and make a beeline for the white stuff. Snowballs are made in a matter of moments, and Miss 8 has thrown herself into it, making a snow angel. I am snapping away like a mad woman, giddy with delight at seeing their delight. Their rosy cheeks are kissable and beautiful.

It begins to snow... at first just lightly, swirly, delicate and mist like. Oh my word though... because minutes later it is now REALLY snowing, flurries of flakes everywhere. Proper big flakes, thick and fast. I need no prompting to grab the teenager out of the car, and surprise surprise, he gets off his phone and decides to interface with an app called THE REAL WORLD (his running joke in our family is that THE REALITY APP i.e, real life ,has great pixels and sets, but the storyline is crap). Lo and behold, a miracle, within nano seconds he too is laughing and giggling, smiling like a happy loon. He yells, he makes snowballs and throws them at his sisters. Now we are all laughing, ducking, throwing, leaping, running. It is pure bloody magic, and my heart is full full full full full.

                              The first snowball fight of the day, smiles all around, even from the teenager


From where we are we can see the turn off to Mt. Canobolas(fun fact-it is the highest point from here till all the way to Africa heading due west). There is sub alpine flora and geography up there, because it often gets snow in winter.On a whim we decided to drive up the track, and see what it is like up there. Even though we know the road is closed off and we will not reach the top of the mountain, we cannot resist the urge to find out  how much snow  has fallen higher up.

                                                   Winter wonderland... the road up to Mount. Canobolas


So up we drive, car in 4WD, seat belts on, headlights on, nice and slow. The road is rutted and icy, and the trees are a ghostly white, covered, and looking ethereal and hauntingly beautiful. It is such a treat to see. A few months ago I was on this same track, trees dry and twisted, grass gold, and sweltering in 40 degree heat. It is hard to believe! This country of ours really is amazing.

I drive until we see the sign for the entrance to the State conservation area, and because there is a little clearing and my kids are champing at the bit to get out and play some more, I pull over. In a flash they are out and I can no longer see them as they disappear behind the trees, exploring and getting themselves in position for an almighty snowball fight. I cannot stop smiling.


                                    Yep, that is snow, at about 45 degree angle,  coming down thick and fast

All this time, the snow has not eased off, and is in fact getting heavier. My phone has frozen(literally!) So I am snapping away with my big daddy camera, trying to keep it shielded from the snow and failing miserably! I really just cannot stop thinking about how great this is, and how much I know the kids will remember this day, and wish my hubby was here too. 

I stand really still, and try to take it all in, try to make my brain like a polaroid and lock way the details, pack this time and experience away in my head. I smell the air, touch the snow, taste the cold and just filter out everything but the beauty that is around me. In the quiet I hear branches snapping off trees, too heavy with snow to support such weight, and I think... shux, maybe it is time to go.

By now my kids are like walking popsicles, and they are beginning to feel the bite of the cold. Being nutters though, they insist that feeling half frozen is indeed lots of fun, and they are fine-thanks- Mum. When I point out that the car is actually now covered in snow and branches are breaking, and that we are in fact, completely underneath just such branches, I see them begin to understand. With the lure of HOT CHOCOLATE, they finally get into the car. OHHOHHOHH...teeny bit of anxiety as the wheels spin, and no traction at all... but it's okay, I figure it out, and down the mountain we go.(actually pretty darn worried there for a while, but do not tell them that, shshshshshshsh....)

 BRRRRR......



Ice magic


 Teenager in disguise...


 Ice princess

After gorging on hot food and the promised hot chocolate, we drove to the friends house, the one whose post inspired our little drive and made me get my arse into gear on this cold grey Sunday. Our kids have not seen each other for awhile,  but it does not matter one iota, the bond these guys have is so special (my friend was actually at Miss 8's birth) and it is hugs and kisses and giggles and cackles all-around. Of course, what they are all dying to do is throw white wet, cold snowy balls at each other. So they do.

SNOWBALL FIGHT!


We mature adults stand there laughing at them, while dog and kids have a wild time. Seeing these kids like this, not a care in the world and so HAPPY, having my friend next to me, she snapping away with her camera too, I have that feeling of immense joy again, and my full heart is even fuller. I wish we could stay for hours, but it is starting to get dark, and the drive back home to Cowra  I think will be long and exhausting. 

And it was totally was. Actually, it was pretty terrifying - snow blizzard, sleet, driving rain, black ice, a de-mister that did not work and a windscreen constantly looking like it had a veneer of vaseline on it, 1000km of windy roads,  kangaroos,  hills,  roadwork ... yep, I had my brown undies on for a lot of that drive.

Eventually though we made it home safely, exhausted and bloody hungry. Soup, crusty bread, melted cheese on top. Fire on, hot water bottles all in working order ... we finished off the day with a good action movie on DVD,  all snuggled up together on the sofa.

So that was #myday. The last of the holidays. I expected a regular day, that would err on the wistful and easily forgotten. But instead what happened was pure magic. We made snowballs and snowmen, snow angels and reconnected with cherished friends. We made memories. My day. Their day. Our day.  For us to talk about, and laugh about and share. A great day.  Full heart, tired head, 3 happy kids, and a happy Mum.  


(and A HUGE basket of wet, muddy,smelly, dirty washing to do....tomorrow.)


And  PS.Those words in orange... they link to information about Orange, Canowindra, Cargo and Mt. Canobolas State Conservation area. These places have many great things to see and do... have a peek if you feel inclined. x Shani