Page:Wongan Way by Lilian Wooster Greaves, 1927.pdf/7

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bud; so are the sursaparillas and the fairy fringe creepers.

My Lady of Spring is designing for herself many beautiful costumes and draperies. The wild hops and other spicy shrubs distil for her a variety of perfumes. Everlastings are as star-dust beneath her feet, as she wanders on her “long, long way” from hill to lake. Loitering awhile along the creekside, she hears the music of falling waters over rocky slopes and between fern-clad hanks. Then down she strolls from the rich red-soiled hills to the white sand-plain; past great clay-pans of milky-looking water; along the Saltwater river, where wattle shrubs covered in cloth of gold are united to their perfect reflections, and seem to be holding mystic communication with their other selves; past shallows where the smooth clay beneath the clear water is latticed with the footprints of wading birds; past flats where companies of trees appear to be standing knee-deep in water—to the lake­ side.

And, oh! the joy of seeing the dear sweet lake, whose sole refreshment through dry years has been her own salt tears; the desolate one, who had been deserted by former friends and lovers—to see her pleasure now, as she welcomes to her home flights of happy birds; as her waters lap around the “swan’s nest in the rushes.” She reflects at morn the image of the hills that were once afar off, and receives to her gleaming palace at even, the sun in his armour of gold, with his attendant courtiers of cloud.

Of course, as we pass along the Wongan wayside in the company of My Lady of Spring, we see growing crops; we realise that Wongan is a land of promise. We pass a few of the homes, we meet some of the people on their way for the mail, or home from the townsite; and children going home from school.

Some day, when these beautiful hills are better known, when photographer and artist have done their duty to the country by picturing the natural beauties of the district in press and gallery; when weary towndwellers sigh for country air, and coast-dwellers long for a change inland, they will hie them to the hills for rest and healing, and will find them.

Some day—and yet some other day! A halfmocking voice seems to foretell a more distant future. It says: Some day, when the rainfall of the good years is conserved for use in the dry years; when a great condenser distils fresh water from beneath the saltbeds; when the latent mineral resources can he de­veloped; the travellers to the hills will not be only tourists, artistic parties, health seekers; hut armies of industry. We do not know.

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