Two days ago, Ian wrote to me:
I wonder if this may be suitable for a filler. It seems as though we need a break from raw politics for a couple of hours.
As always, when Ian offers a thread-starter, I was over the (full) moon.
As always, I delighted in his exquisite insights into the human condition – not to mention his starkly lovely prose.
However, for once I have to question him – is this post really a break from raw politics? – especially given the sheer nastiness of the “Reclaim Australia” rallies yesterday?
On the contrary, my dear Ian, yours is a deeply political post.
Yes, we must do all we can to nurture and encourage those in their teens, their 20s, their 30s, to recognise, fight, and defeat the evil that (as it always will) tries to subjugate us.
Thank you, my dear friend, from the bottom of my heart.
(Image Credit: Australian Traveller)
One of the first things I sensed from Mick – not his real name – was his open honesty. That, and the green cabbage leaf strapped around a cracked left kneecap. Apparently a tried, tested, and true bush cure for such ailments.
I came across Mick some years ago on a destocked cattle station off the Gibb River Road. He eked out his pension as caretaker and windmill man. There wasn’t much money in it but it eased the strain, was 30 miles from where he was born and bred, in country where he had spent all his life and, importantly, kept him out of town, the pubs, and trouble. Though every so often he would head over to resort and use the atm, have a couple of beers at the bar, and then come down to the staff quarters, warm his backside by the fire and, to the astonishment of all of us, recite his “poetries”.
Perhaps his contentment fueled his honesty. Perhaps it was because Mick couldn’t read or write. Something I ponder in quiet times.
The cattle station had developed a small tourist operation, and was owned by a wildlife conservation enterprise, with a contingent of scientists and lab techs. All staff, I must note, were early to late twenties. It turned out that three staff and Mick all had a birthday in the same week. A party was organised.
The party rolled along as these things do. Camp oven roast beef, old-fashioned sweet curry and rice, with sultanas and dried apple, with Clive of India starring in the main role, hot damper with currants and golden syrup. A nice feed . . .
A lull followed dinner. Most content to let various burbles, quiet belches, and the odd sneaky cloud of flatulence do the talking. But it was time for presents. An apron here, a big box of chocolates there, and other little trinkets, either found in the bush or made into something that could only come from open and loving hearts. Then it was time for Mick’s presents.
He was presented with two picture frames. They didn’t contain pictures: they contained words. I think Mick, not being able to read or write, was pretty confused, until one the young girls explained to him,
“These are your poetrees, Mick. Now everyone can read them.”
The look on Mick’s face told the story better than any other could. There were tears – not crying – just tears. We saw a man realise, no matter how humble his life, what he says thinks and does accounts for something. Of the cadences of prose he knew nothing. He just timed the rhythms of his land to his heart. He could now see it in written word. His heart and soul there for all.
I often think of those young people, of their generosity, their clear-eyed view of their life purpose. And how they could sense the quiet integrity and honesty of a man they may never have met in suburban environs.
Perhaps as we on the left travel our diverse paths we could ponder whether we may have lost a generation of young people. Those who choose to look for, find, and accept the essential beauty and strength in mankind.
We must find them, guide them and be their strength as they fight to ensure such an abomination as Abbott can never rise to power again.
(Image Credit: Travel Around Australia)