With the window down in the car you can almost smell it through the choirs of cicadas: Christmas.
I have not had a full day off in about four weeks. Some days are just driving to the next spot, but no days are without work. Christmas is coming so it is OK.
The cabin at the caravan park for my daughters and I is booked. My siblings are working on who is cooking for Christmas. The boys' presents are hidden.
But for others, such as General Angus J. Campbell, AO, DSC, one of the most competent, professional and decent men I have ever met in political life in Canberra, the pressure is going through the roof.
His Christmas is going to be one of deciphering and diagnosing a terrible malady at the pinnacle of our defence capabilities, possibly 39 murders.
What went wrong in Afghanistan? Was it badness or madness? Were the culprits created that way, or did we carve them out of their original, better, human wood?
Hardly any want their job, and even fewer could do it. The feeling on the street is that there is sympathy for the troops. However, exceptional bravery does not mean exceptional in all human qualities, as can be attested in so many crimes.
The regiment will be torn but not broken. It must fall into line so that bravery is tendered by the better angels of judgment. Decisions on life may be executed by a soldier but will be judged by God and a court in between when required, to keep honour in the corps.
My family on both my mother's and father's side were serving members of the Defence Force. My father's father went through all the ranks in artillery and two world wars to be at the end Commander of the Royal Artillery (CRA) of the New Zealand 2nd Division in combat against the Japanese. A long walk in the same shoes from a sergeant at Gallipoli.
He often told the story of how when he knew he was evacuating from the Turks, he realised he had to do something with his remaining artillery rounds. There was a Turkish cook who would climb out of the trenches to collect dung and firewood for his stove. They would wait until he had a heap then use the pile as target practice. The cook would hear the gun and dive for cover. They could have killed the cook, but that would have been murder.
From the Western Front to the Japanese in the Pacific, my grandfather, who despite his rank after the war insisted that his former soldiers just call him "Jack", was resolute that on the weekend he attend mass. If you can speak to your God it helps to keep your humanity.
I suppose that is why we wind down the window to smell the breeze and listen to the cicadas.
- Barnaby Joyce is the federal Member for New England and a former deputy prime minister.