Tuesday, June 27, 2017



Looking at things differently.

After a life of working (on and off) (mostly off) in the Australian bush I have an uneasy relationship with that particular example of natural environment.  The things that impress me most are the same things that (according to their diaries) impressed the early settlers who arrived on the beach in Western Australia in the early 1800's, culturally compromised by their pianos and the legacy of the mother country.  (Must've been tough.)  Those things are (and you can flick them on the fingers of one hand) :-  heat /flies/ dust /monotony and isolation.  Set them against the enervating monotony of the bush (arguably more grey than green), unrelenting blueness (sky&sun) and the fiery redness of the Earth and you get the picture of the heartland of Australia.  Nice, isn't it? (framed by the computer screen).  And it is too,  in winter.  Try it in 40-50 degree heat in the summer in 360 degree reality whichever way you look, while trying to catch a breath between every one of them.  (Any softness in it derives from relief from that experience of summer when it fries you!  Till you get used to it an any rate, and are thus prepared for the '"She'll be right, mate" signature statement of the Ozzie Cockie - the gate, (Bruce, I'll be bound)  [and the cocky ozzie with the ozzie cozzy) ("don't you wish your beaches looked a lot like mine"] .. held together by so many bit of wire it's like there's  more tumblers in it than the locks on the Bank of England.  Combine the heat, the gates and the language to go with both and you have the signature statement of white Australia colonisation.  (Why do I get this picture of the one-legged noble savage standing by, spear in hand, asking what we are doing?)

I can honestly say that any natural softness there is in it, of itself, lies (in my limited experience), in its indigenous people.  I find it odd, therefore, as to their choice of the sun (as "giver of life") as the centrepiece of their flag when surely water would would be more appropriate.   [I do struggle a bit with the sun (in the summer), giver of life or not.]

Flag.  As for the black (for the aboriginal nation)?   Something then about resilience and pride I guess.  But you know what they say about pride, so maybe we can settle for just some, and call it self-respect, but it's edgy, .. edgy.  Sounds to me the dominoes are a little bit round the wrong way in many things, particularly when one overshadows the other and refuses to budge.  Anyway, sun and water, .. we can split it, sun above, water below.  Or maybe left and right doesn't matter, .. surely both have to be in there somewhere as partners in this small matter of 'life' and its meaning in this big brown land - when it comes to nourishing little brown black grey green blue and white 'seeds'.] 

 Yet there *is*beauty in that harshness.  You see it more as you get older.  One I find is if you happen to be driving into the sun just after it has set.  Slivers of cloud just above the horizon divide the sky, .. 'sea' below, sky above, .. while further below the land darkens against encroaching night.  A flip of the mind changes the road ahead.  The horizon shifts up a notch into the fading light of the sky, still ablaze in the wake of the sun, to the fingers of cloud enclosing what appears to be the definitive tropical blue lagoon.  You can imagine it as a harbour of sorts.  You can almost see boats moored, .. or at least easily imagine them, while between the moorings, the promontories (of cloud), lies the open sea.  Above the harbour is the pink and gold of smaller clouds tinged with silver and grey against the dimming blueness of the sky.  

Now the road banks on the bend and takes you down to the coast.  The encroaching night and the heat of the day is behind you, not in front where lies this glowing sheltered harbour with no ships,  no cranes,  no piles of containers, no gasworks, and no docklands of dystopian denizens. It's a pastoral, peopley sort of scene with Beethoven bopping his ("Yeah, man") ("Like cool, man") pastoral to the beat of a welcome sundowner.   Altogether it's a scale thing where everything and everybody is just ideal in the mind's preference for a simpler time. 

Funny how the mind switches like that, to look at thinks differently.  It lasts for about fifteen /twenty minutes before you have to snap out of it and remember that the reality is still hundreds of miles away and night is falling.  It's not behind you after all, it's in front and you had better switch on lights and pay attention.  Ah well, .. but for a few minutes there is a window to two realities.  

Truck drivers will know exactly what I mean. Maybe even wonder what it was was that pushed the aborigines away from that welcoming sunset coast and made them wandering souls in the crispy connurbations of bushy vicissitudes.  And the innuit people of northern climes, pushed likewise into the icy wilderness where Frankenstein and the monster he created perished for their sins, friendless and homeless on the altar of a "young girl's hideous imagination" that every year holds schoolchildren in thrall, who have to do it (so they can speak English rite).   Or for that matter the Wandering Tribes of Israel in the Arabian desert, whose bloodthirsty genocidal family history became the touchstone of  the civilised western world - a bounty that spawned the diasporean Scottish deal-maker, Donald-the-Trump who has invoked those ill-fated perambulations of Middle-Eastern folk (religious? - or just tribal) as a means of exorcising his curse of compulsive electioneering, but alas appears to have been scotched in his plan by the unravelling of his not-so secret dealings with that other card in the pack, Vlad-the-Putin, .. known for the boot when he's not impaling his political foes on poisonous chemicals of one sort or another (Link added) - and pallying up to birds of feathers similar to himself. 

All of which is to say that 'truckies' and different ways of looking at things, or not, the more things change, the more they stay they same.  'Twas ever thus.

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