Happiness Used to be When the Sun Went Down

The laughter around the dusk campsite was carrying for miles. Good-natured fun, kids giggling, mothers only half-hearted with their berating.

Sunset in this remote camp was the best part of the day. Everyone was relaxed and food was about to be shared. There was no television to schedule the evening and bedtime was when you were tired.

The open air made you tired sooner than elsewhere. The retelling of stories blanketed the campsite as the night sky pulled down the shutters.

There was a real lack of technology, limited food, an absence of conveniences – but this was as happy a community as I’ve lived in.

A crash of billy cans and shrieking of serious despair broke the bliss.

A petrol sniffer had spilled their jam tin of fuel towards the camp fire and a scramble of thrashing tree branches rained down on the flaring flames – just preventing a flesh burning injury.

The blissful domestic scene was again disrupted by an addiction. An introduced addiction. Not sure why cultures adopt the worst from others.

I’d lived with this community in basic conditions well before they started to over-engage with the dominant non-Indigenous culture from the nearby town. And all were so happy and complete.

But as the community accepted more contact from the nearby country town, the happiness was diluted.

Sunset time was becoming upset time.