As I made the early-morning trek back from Melbourne this week, a familiar sight brought a smile to my face.
It was something I had seen many times in past commutes. However, this time it gave me a sense of joy and lifted my mood from the humdrum of this particularly rainy morning drive.
The view in front was a truck hauling huge numbers of hay bales — commonplace on most trips down the highway. However, I couldn’t help but think hopefully these bales were heading to a farmer — and, more importantly, a family in need.
It was announced yesterday the entire state of of NSW is now in drought, with 23percent of the state in intense drought, 38.2 per cent in drought and 38.7 per cent marked as drought-affected, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
With June and July rainfall much lower than expected, the effects have been damaging, with failing crops and general water shortages affecting farmers’ ability to sustain stock.
Many are saying this is the worst drought in living memory.
Although the current outlook seems bleak, it is during these dark times that we see the best of human-kind.
Our ability to sympathise and show compassion for others is one of the greatest strengths that separates us from other animals.
It has been wonderful to see the number of resources and different initiatives that have been pulled together for a little relief for this cause.
There have been telethons, drought relief appeals and hay runs, with numerous businesses answering the call to help our farmers.
Even the newest initiative, Parma For A Farmer, cleverly utilises everyone’s favourite cheesy, saucy, crumbed chicken pub meal to raise funds for those in need.
As I wrote this column, I was told of a wonderful local initiative in which hampers are being created with luxury items such as candles or handmade gifts to help boost morale and create a sense of normality in the lives of those affected.
There are even local schoolchildren dressing up as farmers this week in a fundraising effort.
It’s pretty amazing to see the power of mankind and the things we can achieve when working harmoniously.
When the odds are stacked against us and we’re fighting something over which we have no control, we see the best and most raw, beautiful side of humanity.
Although a few millimetres of rain have brought temporary relief, it’s important to keep working together to give everyone their best chance at a bright future.
Ashlea Witoslawski is a journalist at The News.