I was in Auburn again today, and this afternoon went with dad for a little drive, just a few k’s down the road to Undalya. This is a tiny town, hamlet perhaps would be a better word, which has a few houses, an ex-tennis court (the gates are there), a cemetery, an old bridge, the river (Wakefield – it flows through Auburn too), a former school and almost nothing else. These little towns, past their prime, languishing, often beautiful in their own way, are all over the place in South Australia. Remnants of a time when getting from A to B was more time-consuming, and the need for settlements with a few amenities and a store made such places viable for a time. I’ve been through Undalya hundreds of times of course, but the actual township, if you could call it that, is west of the main road, nestled around the old bridge and the old road, which was bypassed a year or two before I was born. Dad and I went this back way today, and I was so struck by how lovely it is. It was late in the afternoon, and the sun was in precisely the wrong place for photos, but made for really beautiful light. The hills behind the town are wearing their winter green, and the creek running through it has water. Masterman’s dairy cows feed contentedly over the way, and all is serene. We went up the back road a way to the cemetery. The Catholic Church that was attached to it was demolished, again just before my time. I think its bell went to the Methodists in Auburn, and stones from it have been reused in housing also.
I seem to be in the midst of a theme of transience in this blog, and with it a sense that life itself as it passes leaves us with hints of itself, passing glances, things seen from the corner of the eye, but which dissolve into nothing if you try to clutch them. Today I felt this again in this little hint of a town, notions of time and lives lived quietly and unassumingly by the river, now and in the past.