by Kim Kelly

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RANDOM

The grass is high along the verges of the track into town, blue chicory blooms are everywhere, and everything has fallen into a deep summer laze. Even the rangy old hare, who usually bounds around our yard as if he owns every tender shoot in it, stops and stares dopily when he sees me. That is, until I try to take a picture of him – then he bolts away.

On days like today, it’s easy to be lulled into believing that such tranquillity might be somehow sustainable. Peace will be ours forever. Under the right conditions. The right temperature. The right song of the birds. The right contrast of blue between sky and chicory, of green between leaf and field.

If there were any such thing as right in our world. On days like today, it’s just as easy to believe in the rightness of chaos. The struggle of each seed to sprout along the track, a triumph over sheep, roo, tractor wheel, a mistimed dry spell. While each pebble that crunches underfoot holds its own epic story, of ancient volcanoes, ice-age blizzards, raging floods. Everything we see and sense is forged.

And all of us in one way or another are miraculous survivors. Determined to be, and uniquely beautiful. Somehow essential. As perfectly in place as we are random. Like this native paper daisy I spied among the grass. It’s called Yellow Buttons, or the Common Everlasting, its present botanical name Chrysocephalum apiculatum; I don’t know what the Wiradjuri, the original keepers of these Millthorpe hills, called it, but I wish I did.

Whatever it is, it is exquisitely itself. Each of its flower heads a globe of captured sunlight, blazing gold, before fading back into the earth. The glimpse of something imagined made real, just for a moment. Heroic. Wonderful.

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