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It’s early morning in New York State. Through the fog shrouding the stables comes the sound of hooves at a steady walking gait. He looms up with breath smoking out of his nostrils. A horse who thinks. His trainer is certain he is intelligently planning his run in his next race. He could win a million. He looks as shiny as a new dime with muscles that deliver speed and strength. Big Brown is his name. Thousands will hope that every muscle and bone will stay sound as he gallops to the finish line. May he outlive the race.
Philomena was fun to flirt with. She had fabulous eyes and a fantastic figure. She worked as a flighty flamenco dancer. She would flitter around the stage in a fluorescent pink frock. Frank fancied her. He was a ferocious fisherman who was good at landing flounder. But his time off was filled with fantasies of Philomena. One day in a fit of frustration he joined the flamenco class. Funnily enough Frank cut a fine figure on the floor. Philomena’s face flushed a fluorescent red. Frank smiled fabulously at her. “Will you be my bit of fluff?” “Yes, fine” said Philomena.
The dark mountains of Tahiti loom upwards towards the white billowing clouds. A painter visited that island. His name was Gaugin. He travelled to a place which was green and lush. Some natives lived there in dark brown timber houses. Gaugin loved to paint with colour. On the day he was there it was quite sunny. He setup his easel looking towards the mountains. A horse wandered into the scene. Wow! He painted with joy. “Paysage avec cheval!” Landscape with horse. His oil painted mountains are noble and removed. Horse and trees are warm and familiar. What magic!
“Peace is the only safe fallout shelter”. And this poster shown by an exhibit about nuclear energy! I remember this energy was produced by the atomic bomb which destroyed Hiroshima. And in the years following that attack, the need for fallout shelters was big in the minds of USA citizens. The radio this morning told me that there are still nuclear warheads being pointed at other countries by Russia and the USA. This seems crazy. Is not the Cold War over? Is paranoia the natural state of mind of the military and powerful politicians? Peace is logical and fun.
“The present is the only time there is!” What? I often think of the past with smiles and sadness. Perhaps I go back within imagination. And the future is filled by my mind with events which must happen and duty I must complete. How much time is left for living now? And imagination can give me pleasure now. Swimming can give me fun now. A square piece of dark chocolate would be very tasty now. Then why do I think ahead about what to cook tonight? Could I just leave it blank in my mind till I’m at the stove?
A wilderness in winter. White snow lies like a blanket. I walk along the icy road. Snow flakes come tumbling from the sky overhead and brush lightly across my face like the touch of an invisible winter wizard. When a tree cannot hold its load of heavy snow any longer it drops it like an enormous snow ball joke right across my whole body. I like that kind of joke. The joke played by the environment on me It's a lot nicer than what we are doing to the atmosphere by driving too many cars and burning too much fossil fuel.
Orange and white clown fish. They dance a sleepy rumba at night when the aquarium light is off and the room is like a darkened cave. Should not they be sleeping in the warm water of a colourful coral reef? Then they could gently awake to the first red rays of the rising sun as it pops out of the cool blue sea like a slice of red toast. They would dance for joy with their sinuous tango, each of the two bodies reflecting, like a mirror, the others movements. In my tank they still tango: wonderful!
The water is a cool caress as I dangle my left foot in it. The catamaran rocks like a baby’s cradle at its mooring. Gently. Stems and stalks of blue and yellow glow in the sunlight below. A noon day sun blazes in the sky and fills the water with a turquoise glow. The dazzling clarity seems to shine back upwards to the sun. One hundred pointy-nosed fish swim quickly past the anchor rope as it lazily trails down into the brilliant depths. A white rounded cloud is looking at its reflection on the still surface and enjoys what it sees.
A golf ball sits patiently on its tee. Whack! It flies high into the air with a steep curve. When it attains 35 metres of height it describes a happy gentle arc. Its flight is a parabola. The ball does not know that. It simply knows it copped a big whack and so it has to fly through the air. Now it falls towards the clipped grass of a golf green. The earth comes towards it. Plop, the eagle has landed! It rolls. Its direction takes its towards a small hole. It falls. A human cry comes from 139 metres away.
It’s a good idea to drive slowly along this track. This gives me a chance to look to my left to enjoy a green wheat field flooded with the sun. Dark brown poles of kangaroos stick up at random spots out of the green wheat. As the track meanders further away from the main road it becomes narrower. Sometimes it is just a two wheel ribbon shouldering its way between tall gum trees. How happy I feel to be out here! I stop and get out of the car. The sun warms my skin and the bush enters my soul.
Music in the moment. Rolling and cascading saxophone playing, going up and down the scale like a monkey doing that on a palm tree. A bar with a piercing clarinet filling up the room. The musician is totally flowing with his music while the audience grooves to it. The drummer seems to know when to hit his drums and which one at what time. I guess he just follows the notes as they fly out as invisible parcels of sound waves through the thick air. The bass player meditates on his rhythm. Keyboard tinkles. Such variety of joy.
This dog is friendly and can do tricks. He loves to run in the hills with his carers. He is black and white. This Frisbee is pink. It may be thrown through the air by its carers and sometimes glides smoothly. When both are outside the dog jumps. He is like a hairy rocket. Near the highest part of his flight he often opens his mouth. Clunk! Teeth close around plastic smoothness. The hairy rocket runs along the field, finds a big bush to hide behind and starts to chew the Frisbee. This must be summer in the brown hills.
Another birthday for my daughter is happening today. She is probably in car driving towards the mountains. I wonder will she stop for coffee in that city on the plain? Tomorrow she may find herself among the giant trees. Until I walked among them with her on one snowy Sunday afternoon last December I would not have believed they could grow so tall. It would be a wonderful birthday present from the Earth to her if she could see and touch them again. The squirrels may be jumping, too. Look, there is a black one! Out of doors is fun!
My dream is to live to touch the beauty of nature and feel its power and love. I think that all human animals, other animals, plants, rocks, stars and earthquakes are part of the wonder of nature. May the earth move for me in many ways! And affectionate moments be frequent for me, as I relate to other people, both men and women. I aspire to feeling good about my body and sharing those good feelings. And the spiritual part of being, like the wonder of the Moon, Sun, cats, dogs and family will always be one of the best experiences.
Being out in the sun, which is shining like a warm and very strong electric heater in the sky, is different to being in a small room. When I am in any small room, I feel a bit trapped if there is something difficult to do or if I do not know the people who are in that small room with me. Whereas I see the sun as my familiar friend, who is always the same. It warms my happy flesh in winter and burns my skin in summer. In a small room, with unknown human beings, anything can happen.
This material can be yellow, grey or black. It is made up of small particles, which our eyes cannot see. They are cute, round little balls when viewed under an electron microscope. These little material particles have been moved by running and enthusiastic water from far away. Below the wooden bridge in the forest they are coloured black. The mass of many millions is shiny and wet with water. Strange, woody, spongy projections poke vertically up as erections of about 10 inches in length. Water now oozes noiselessly across the shiny surface with the incoming tide. The material is mangrove mud!
Climbing a rock face. As I ascend the first 100 metres I follow a vertical crack where my hands and feet can find easy holds in the grey-white rock. Further up the large cracks disappear and the rock surface is like a shiny mirror. My hand gropes upward for an indentation or a large clump of projecting crystals which poke out of the mirror-like face. Halfway up my muscles start to protest, especially in my forearms. The muscles say ”why are you working us this hard?: its time for smoko!” My brain tells them: “I’m 250 metres from the ground.” No!
The piano plays notes with energy which is a rocket forging through the atmosphere as it flashes upward towards space. The notes ascend into the treble with such uplift to my heart. They fly upward into the dazzling unity of the Sun. From the pen of an African American composer of 1890. Who achieved fame at the World’s Fair in St Louis, Missouri. His music is part of a modern film score. Yet many whites condemned rag time music as licentious and common. A gate to the slippery slope of Hell. But to me it sounds like the Universe playing the piano.
Strong trees, brown trunked stand upright like guardians. They are much higher than the wooden building which squats before them for shelter from the southerly winds. Heat rises from the blond grass which covers the ground sloping down from the pines. The corrugated iron tank seems flattened by the immensity of the trees but nevertheless spouts forth its clear water. My old white car happily rests in a patch of sunlight near the tank. My drive up the brown dusty road was like going up the fabled yellow brick road to the magic kingdom of the Australian Bush.
I remember Kings Canyon, California. The shiny white glare of the snow when we arrived on that Saturday lunchtime. And then I found strange things on my feet, called snow shoes, but did not know what to do. Suddenly I was on a snowy track going down the slope between giant trees. My attention was more on my feet than on the sequoias. While they soared upward in quiet Majesty, I tried to walk. Being just an Australian in the snow was fun , but it was challenging when the slope downwards was replaced by a slope upwards.
Sometimes I have feelings about Grafton and see visions. An impossibly thick mass of purple on a black trunked jacaranda tree makes me stop in awe of nature’s abundance. A blue sky with a dazzling white clouds for my brother to fly a small plane around gives feelings of nostalgia for warm Saturday afternoons. Then I also felt my body shiver at the sight of galloping horses as they surged around the back bend and strained their willing muscles and hearts to get to the grandstands first. I feel lost in an urban desert when I remember what joy it was to be a boy in a country town.
The picnic area is covered with sunny green grass and is as peaceful as a church. There is a strange bird halfway up a tree, hanging on like a rock climber on a rock face. The shade is as cool as your bedroom when you leave the lounge room to go to bed. And to lie in the sun and get warmed like a snake relaxing would be just wonderful. Our walk is by white trunked trees. The Depths of Earth shattered this peace once! See the deformed fence which moved some metres during the Big Earthquake.
This is an open sunny place with a large colourful flag flying. A place to stop and feel your body can breathe and your soul be filled with space. I need this after being in the crowds walking anonymously between the towering buildings. Once I stayed in that hotel on the southern side. Memories flood back of a small dark-haired figure rushing along an empty morning corridor with croissants. Their aroma is like sweetened almonds. The four year old’s face shows a bright smile of accomplishment.. A cable car rings its bell. Its a happy wanderer of the streets below.
Spring yellow flaunts its presence.. Cool air slides down from the tree covered hill. It carries the memory of winter and sways the yellow flower balls on the wattle. The sun is warm on my shoulders. Jet black cockatoos glide overhead with a plaintive cry. A rasping squawk from the blue sunlit sky is like a call from the heart of the unknowable bush. The birds remind me that this is a wild and remoter place, where a man can feel lost in the inky blackness of night. Yet the blessed day will come with pink light over the black mass of the mountain.
Today is sunny but I have decided to do housework. Dust and clutter have overcome the room. The sheets lie exposed on my bed crying out “wash me”. The clutter says “your life is slowed down by our blockages just as surely as a branch across a laughing creek will slow the water and make a stagnant pool.” So get your legs and arms into gear, I think to myself. But the sun calls to me “I will be gone tomorrow so come and sit in me now”. Life brings so many conflicts! Today I will be a house-tidier till 6pm. Freedom will flare up after that magic time!
Responding to the alienation of the individual in modern life I went to a play about alienation.. I heard some interesting sound effects and liked some music. There were songs and chants from the Jewish tradition. There was a slim blond woman who spent some time lying on their table. But when the manna fell from heaven into the shopping trolley, I smiled like a man possessed. It was an overnight blessing in the Bible and Mum liked to talk about it. That life giving white layer on the ground: it made me feel blessed. The play didn’t.
Six people with anticipation written on their faces are looking my way. As my privately organised tour runs for the first time, my exhilaration is so strong that I feel as if I could do a hang glide from this lookout without the hang glider! But no! Who would then speak with clarity and knowledge about the sunlit vista spread out before them? I will use this brief time to fill their mind with the wonder of the shape of the land, why there are trees in one large patch and why the sea is that particular shade of blue.
A brief description of my desk: “it is covered with a lot of objects”. However ,these objects have an organisation which the depths of my mind can make sense of. Another person looking at my beautiful purple round specimen of amethyst perched on top of a petty cash voucher may wonder what mystery that relates to. It simply means that I must act on that job tomorrow morning. And the bottle containing a small amount of a very black liquid and which is located a short distance from the computer, is essential to my basic health. Now, who would have guessed that?
Alex the African grey parrot has an impressive vocabulary and grasp of concepts. His round yellow eye, set in a ring of small white feathers, saw many objects around his perch. Once he noted his master heating toast in the kitchen. Now Alex had an excellent sense of smell and liked toast and vegemite. Yum! was his concept. But his master became distracted by the radio. “Oh my goodness” thought Alex, “that toast is starting to smell wrong!” Out of his shiny black beak came the word “burnt!” He knew that word from a television documentary about bushfires.
I have friendly feelings towards a round rock which I found in a clear-watered mountain stream. The cold water ran over it with much joy for many months before my hand reached in and removed it. The rounded cobble felt so cool in my hand. It is made from mineral crystals. Because they sparkle in the boring light of my workplace it transports me back to that sunny valley. Flying on the swift wings of imagination my spirit rises out of the tedium of my work desk. The forest trees surround me like a group of familiar friends and how sweetly they talk!
The Tip Jar