We are fortunate to have made the acquaintance of Ruth, a person interested in everything and who likes to talk, drive and take us out. A rare and wonderful combination.
We spend a day with Ruth in her Tiguan car lolling around looking at the bright sky and leaves through the sunroof. We speed up the hills on broad motorways to arrive at a little town, Hahndorf where German settlers used to farm and live. It’s been preserved as a tourist stop with quaint and cute looking shops and cafes. We have coffee and some wonderful pastries at a cafe before driving on .
We drive through the countryside, through miles and miles of golden brown fields, stretching to the horizon on either side of the grey ribbon of road.
We cross the river Murray, clean and small. The grass has dried up and been rolled into tight brown bales which are stored for the winter for the cattle. The farms stretch large and empty; in some places a group of cattle huddle together, in others one proud horse occupies a whole paddock. Sometimes there is a vineyard with rows and rows of neat plants in straight rows. Nowhere do we ever see a human being outside working the land.
She asks is this like India and I can’t see any connection to our small fields. The emptiness everywhere is something new .
As we come back to the city, we see bunches of school children, just out of school,hanging around bus stops or just hanging around in bunches, talking, interacting and that is one of the signs of life as we understand it.