Being born in New Zealand, a part of me will always belong there, but I have lived in Australia now for more than half my life, so that is where I call home.
I still remember an eerie, uncanny sense of un-ease for months, actually years, after I first moved here. I always felt somewhat unsettled when outside and wanted to go inside or under trees or something. It took a long time before I recognised that I even had this feeling and longer still until I realised what it was.
It was caused by a sense of vulnerability or exposure to something. Yes, part of that was my pale, freckly Nordic skin panicking at the harsh Australian sun, but there was much more to it than that. The feelings were caused by the sky. There is a reason this is called Big Sky country.
I’d grown up in a young, folded land, where shade and hills were never out of sight; where a primal sense of available shelter was always with you. Where the sun was your friend, not a seering foe to be reckoned with.
The photo above was taken on one of my road trips in Australia and captures the sense of a big sky – for me at least, which is my sense of what distinguishes Australia. This may not be the only place with big sky, but big sky is Australia.