My usual ritual during the early weeks of kidding time is to walk the paddock before I go to bed to check on the mums and bubs.
One particular evening I was annoyed to find the girls were having a night out at the local hay bale; their babies had been left alone all over the paddock. One kid was acting as fox bait; it had climbed through the wire fence and was curled up in the adjoining paddock. Even the alpacas had decided to have the night off and were at the opposite end of the paddock playing hooky. I had to re-soundly tell the mums off and yell at the alpacas to get back to work.
After huffing and puffing from carrying armfuls of kids from the far corners of the paddock back to their errant mothers it was time for my bed.
On the way back to the house I took a moment to take in what an exceptionally beautiful clear night it was and admire the unbelievable splendour of the night sky. The evening sky away from city lights is breathtaking. The limitless expanse of blackness was ablaze with a canopy of billions of luminous stars.
I stood in the middle of the black paddock for a few minutes gazing at this wonder and spotted a aeroplane.
Well I thought it was a plane, but where was its blinking red lights? It was really bright and it was a strange shape that seemed to be just hovering in the one spot. Perhaps it is Venus? No, it was moving, but surely far too slowly for a plane or satellite? What was it? Did it just take off quickly then stop again?
It was at about this point my fertile imagination began kicking in. I started to think about the Mel Gibson movie ‘Signs’.
Yes, a UFO was hovering over my farm about to land and I was all alone!
It makes lots of sense for a UFO to land in a rural area, there’s plenty of land, easy touchdown. No intelligent alien would land its craft in the middle of a busy Sydney street, there’s no room for manoeuvring; it would cause a huge traffic jam and then, no doubt, a car driver with road rage over being inconveniently held up would start swinging a base ball bat at it.
My heart started pounding. I was a sprinter in my youth, I am quite sure I broke my own personal best record running back to the house.
The door was slammed and locked. I raced from room to room making sure the windows were closed and shutting the blinds, terrified I would see something on the other side of the glass looking in at me.
I was waiting for the house to light up, being infused with blinding orange light; the windows and doors to start rattling and banging. I was not up for any close encounters of the third kind.
Truly, I was mentally looking for somewhere to hide in my teeny tiny cottage ......you know, just in case. Aliens wouldn't think to look in the broom cupboard, would they? Yes they probably would know I was squished in there.
Should I grab the aluminium foil to start fashioning a helmet so my thoughts could not be read by the visitors? No that would take too much time, a large saucepan might work, also doubling as a weird creature wacker.
Like a child I dived into bed and threw the covers over my head, hoping a ball of light wouldn't materialise into a starman hanging out on my veranda. As I hid under the bed covers a mantra kept running through my head, "It was only a plane, it was only a plane" until I convinced myself that was all the unusual light was and I could fall asleep.
All this time I knew I was being irrational, silly and far too imaginative. Obviously I have watched too many Sci-fi thrillers. My strange light was probably just a plane.... but who is to say it wasn’t a unidentified flying object.
A number of months later I was visiting the coast, which as the crow flies is not so far away from the farm. The local news reported “A bizarre shining orb filmed hovering near the coast late last month was not from any identifiable source.” I felt quite vindicated for my galloping imagination.
"There's a starman waiting in the sky
He'd like to come and meet us
but he thinks he'd blow our minds"