I’m Jess. I live on Peramangk land in the Adelaide Hills with my partner, two daughters and clumsy labrador. I am a writer, teacher, researcher; lover of community and chocolate macadamias.
It is spring, 2040 and I am 57. My feet are bare on the floor as I wait quietly for my coffee to bubble up. The first red and white blossoms are out. I take a moment to breathe and give thanks; the sun breaks over the gum trees. My two daughters and their partners live in tiny houses at the far end of our property. One of them has a baby girl. They walk through the orchard to our house for brekkie. My mum, who is old, fiery and brilliant, lives in a tiny house painted yellow, a little closer to ours. She joins us for breakfast too. The four generations sit, laugh and bounce the baby on our knees. Long ago we rejected the idea of the nuclear family. The isolation, the intensity. We slowly brought back the village. Our neighbour, Sue, stops in for a cuppa as we clear the breakfast dishes. She is pruning our roses today. She has a knack for avoiding prickles. We give her eggs and boughs of blossom in return.
Our days are full of working bees, spades, coffee from a thermos on a picnic blanket, apple cake. We swap time, skill, interests with those around us. My paid work is writing and interviewing others about social change, but I also work in my community and in my family. The act of caring – for parents, children, those in need – is recognised these days. Parental leave is a given. Teachers, nurses, parents, writers: we saw that these roles were the threads of our lives and communities. We came back to love as the most important value. Our battered, beloved bikes serve us well for most trips and the electric car share is handy for getting up to the Flinders Ranges for a week’s sandy camping.
I was always terrified that by the time my daughter had grown up, the planet would be damaged beyond repair. But we woke up. Quite quickly, really, we saw we had to stop just growing and taking. It was a revolution. We got angrier, then softer, and less lavishly demanding of the Earth. It felt good. Our children fired that revolution. We wanted a future for of all our kids. The world also feels fairer now than when I was growing up. We just had the 10-year anniversary of the signing of a Treaty with First Nations people. There were huge celebrations all over the country for that anniversary. Tears of grief and relief and shared yarns. With reparations, more truth telling and the Treaty, we are getting closer to reconciliation. I like that our politicians talk about making the future right and fair for all our grandkids these days.
I have a mobile phone but it stays on the kitchen bench these days. Good for photos from my niece in Broome. I think I used to take it to the toilet? We sit on the deck for a glass of red as the sun fades. My husband beside me. The kookaburras laugh, the magpies warble.