Every time I visit the Barossa Valley I almost feel compelled to write a letter, not an email, to someone far away. Although I’m surrounded by Wi-Fi and more than one electronic device, I am reminded of a different time as soon as the old clocks in the living room start to chime on the hour, just like they have done for a hundred years.
If I were to write a letter to you right now, I would mention the calming effect of the neighbouring vines, stretching out in rows of thick green and brown; the familiar horses already covered in blankets, feeding at the bottom of the creek; and the Kookaburras sitting in the twenty-year-old Gum Trees, having a laugh at the expense of everyone else.
But we now have several electronic alternatives to letters, all of which seem to have lost the distinct qualities that letters have, especially what personal correspondence is concerned. I doubt whether a marriage proposal written in one’s own handwriting 200 years ago would have had the same impact if the Internet was available and an email was sent instead.
Don’t get me wrong (I have a feeling I’ll be using this phrase a lot), these methods of communication are essential for information sharing, professional correspondence and progress in general. On any given day I am required to write at least 30 or so emails, text one person and chat to someone online. However I’m sure that some people back in the day would have written on a rock, tree bark or something similar about this new thing called paper that will just not be the same. Of course this is all forgotten now, just like letters will no doubt one day be forgotten as well.
You may think, ‘great story Grandma, but what’s your point?’ My point is this – There are places that still attempt to preserve the customs of the past and the Barossa Valley is one of them. Whether it is through vintage festivals, “Town Days” or the German influenced Melody Night, these traditions will remain invaluable. And the fact that they are usually accompanied by a glass or two of local wine or Glühwein doesn’t hurt either.
Personally, I would like to include the Barossa Valley in this section of my blog as one of my “favourite writing spots”.