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My family has been living on the land for over five

generations.

Since 1860 we have produced the finest woo in the

state.

The fleece has won more blue ribbons than you can poke

a stick at.

But now the sheep are dying out in the paddocks.

It hasn’t rained in over a year.

The clouds refuse to shed even a single tear.

 

My name is Rodney Swain and i am ten years old.

And i know that my family is hurting.

I would do anything to make them happy.

I wish that i could climb a giant ladder and reach up into

the heavens.

I would squeeze the clouds until they cry.

Cant they see that the grass is brown and dying?

So why aren’t the clouds crying?

 

Every night after the evening meal.

We would all sit out on the back porch hoping to see

lightning and the sound of thunder.

But as usual the sky is full of stars there isn’t a cloud in

sight.

How can mummy and daddy continue the fight?

 

I work beside daddy everyday before and after school

Trying to keep the farm afloat

But how can you feed your livestock when the grass id dead

And the top soil has blown away?

Sometimes i see daddy wiping the tears from his eyes as he hand

feeds the animals

As i watch him a say a little prayer. ‘Please God make it rain so daddy

can get some rest’

‘We really need some rain to  to fill the rivers and dams’

That should put on smile on the faces of all the ewes and the randy

rams’

 

But still it doesn’t rain.

Maybe if i place on top of each other and climb that that giant ladder

I can reach high enough to squeeze the clouds.

And hopefully they will co operate and release some steady rain.

Don’t they realise you can only take so much heartache and pain?

 

In wake up in the morning in sheets wet with my sweat

6 am and already the heat is stifling.

Why does summer have to be so hot?

Cant there be a season where it doesn’t get above 28 degrees

and it rains every second day?

Why does my family and all the other families have to always live

in drought?

All we need is a little precipitation.

To saturate the whole god damn nation.

 

The situation is getting drastic.

We reply on the rain for our very existence.

It hasn’t rained in three long years.

Today the temperature is forecast to reach 43 degrees

And the following will be more of the same.

The girl on the weather channel predicts the weather with a smile

She says there wont be any rain for quite a while.

 

How can she smile when families on the land are hurting?

Doesn’t she know that farmers are killing themselves?

Because the clouds refuse to yield

Bills still need to be paid and everyone has to eat.

There is never enough money to go around.

All because of a lack of water.

Why doesn’t it rain so win can win the fight and stop the slaughter?

 

Maybe if i stack the three on top of five barns.

I will be able to climb the giant ladder and squeeze the clouds.

Until they start to weep.

Than we can all rest easy and finally get some sleep.

 

Another three months has gone by.

And still the clouds refuse to budge.

They turn black and threaten a down pour.

But it is all just sound and bluster.

Soon all of the clouds disappear over the horizon.

And once again it is clear skies sunshine and heat.

My family and the community are all strong.

But this time i think they are beat.

 

Maybe if i stack the three tractors on top of the five barns

along with seven houses.

I can climb the giant ladder and reach up and squeeze the clouds.

And they will open up and supply us all with days of steady rain.

So it can soak into the earth and turn the grass green

Fill all of the rivers creeks dams and water tanks.

I would look up into the clouds and scream THANKS

 

Another six months has passed.

And there hasn’t been a single drop.

So once again i start to think.

What if i stacked the three tractors on top of the five barns.

Along with the seven farm houses.

Than if i added nine skyscrapers  i could climb that giant ladder

And squeeze the clouds and those fuckers will relent to my touch.

Cause when you think about i am not really asking for much.

 

Sorry for saying the swear word out loud.

Please don’t tell mummy or daddy because i would get a belting.

I promise not to do it again,now where was i ?

 

‘Rodney’

I am startled to hear my mummy’s voice.

And also to find myself standing on the roof of our house.

Jumping up and down doing a rain dance.

‘Get down from there right this minute,or you will get a belting

you wont forget in a hurry’

I don’t know what i am doing,but i start to chant and pray.

I close my eyes and imagine those three tractors stacked on top of

the five barns.

Along with the seven farm houses with the nine skyscrapers.

I see myself climbing that giant ladder and reaching up to

squeeze the clouds.

 

And do you know what?

I can feel my fingers getting wet.

So i squeeze a little harder and the clouds finally release.

And send down the much needed rain.

Finally my family and all of the other farmers can look to the future

With a fresh attitude and a soggy smile.

Because i think the rain is going to be here for quite a while.

 

 

THE END.