Monday, October 21, 2019


There they are all sitting in the shade as the brutal sun blasts down
Retreat to the breezer for warm wine and a smoke
Barely distinguishable from the mottled scrub and turkey bush half light
Serving out the interminable furnace of day, Longing for the night
Like the day before, they ate fish and slept in the sand by the fire.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Darkness and light

On the middle day of this working week I took my day off. I am employed to work four days per week but as life has it, I have often given up my day off 
A. because there is always some little thing that needs to be done.
B. I'm a freaking workaholic who doesn't know how to have fun or relax.
(Mostly 'B' I think)

On this day I did not go to my Job. On this day I tried to practice being a human with only one day. It was a long and full day.

Bäparu (funeral) It's been a sad time lately, too many funerals, too many Yolŋu family passed away. I have also lost close friends this year who I know I am grieving and finding it difficult to let go.
Before dawn I had to take Mirriku to the airport, over the past six months she has lost three siblings. This time a Yapa (sister). A lady who I call Yapa, who I first met 12 years ago who I respected and admired.  She was a precious wise woman who has contributed to her community all her life, I cannot mention her name or show a photo but my memory of her sits heavy. I know why bäparu (funeral ceremony) is so important for Yolŋu. Things must be done right.   

The weight of my thoughts sunk in my heart and even my legs felt heavy and unwilling to move.

Doubt: I wasn't sure exactly what I would do but I knew I must get out of the house and not go to work! There had been a full moon and the nights were getting hot, I don't think I got enough sleep last night. Take it easy, no hurry.

Visual splendor: I took the coast road again and soon found myself crossing the Rapid creek bridge. The tide was high; It's always nice here at high tide. I gazed down at the creek, the red sand, the aqua tinted depth of the creek was clear enough to see Longtoms swimming effortlessly against the outgoing current.

Aimless: With no plan I rode slowly toward the coffee joint I always go to for a caffeine charge. I took my coffee back to a shady spot near the mangroves and contemplated the meaning of life, death and whatever it is I am supposed to be doing with my time, energy and physical presence on this planet. At this point it seemed a pretty pathetic failure of an experiment and I was wondering if it might be time to consider taking finding the exit ramp. 

Feathers of a raptor for freedom and flight

Inspiration: I scanned my phone for some kind of inspiration, looking at social media usually confirms the worst of my doubts... Odd things can happen! Two notifications appeared with links to a couple of lifesavers. Just some reflective writing and images from a couple of creative people it didn't take much... "...Never forget babe, you are the creator of your life"

Contemplation: I sat another 10 minutes, sipping the coffee, listening to the quiet sound of ripples through the mangrove, the smell of hot wet sand and mud. Glancing at the tree above me birds were darting about extracting nectar from occasional inflorescence. Dry leaves for a mat. I had relaxed, I have become calm and centered in my space. My restlessness and distressed mind was calm.

Connection: Finishing my coffee I mounted the long beast of a bike that is my cruising machine. All is right with the universe. "I am one with the force, the force is with me". Right, off we go.

Purpose: Rolling slowly along the path, still not sure what I should do with my day I passed a car that was covered in dust. it bore the words rubbed into the dust of the windscreen. "Clean Me!" Well OK. That seems reasonable. So I went off to Dollars and Cents got a bucket and some cloths, filled the bucket at the servo and returned to start the cleaning. It turned out that I needed much more than one bucket of water to clean this filthy car. Not a single tap in the area had a handle on it. They were all 'vandal proofed'. 

Company: I made a trip to the hardware shop for a tap master key. On my way there I saw Trev. the Rubbish Warrior. We had a bit of a yarn, walked together for a while until we arrived at the bottle recycle depot, I left him there and went back to my work. 

Completion: It must have taken about 10 buckets of water and over a couple of hours from woe to go but I eventually completed the task. The car was clean(er). I felt an overwhelming desire to chuckle, and cycled on with a big grin on my face. I commit random acts of cleaning therefore I am.
(Maybe I should have left this story untold but it was a funny thing to do, it amused me and I felt like I'd left at least one part of the world a little better than I found it)

Exploring: I turned the rig around and headed back toward the coast. Tide was really far out. 'What next oh great Spirit?' I looked to the sea, there is a tiny island sand spit with mangroves and a puddle that is only accessible at times like this... OK. Next adventure.

After picking my way through the mud, hopping across rocks I arrived at sand spit island. It's a quiet little oasis usually submerged. When the tide is out it's like a private beach surrounded by a moat of, yes, 'mud and rock'. 

Giving and taking: Looking back toward the northern Suburbs I could see smoke rising. Another fire! A big one. By now the time was about 1:30. I blasted home full speed, had a shower, put on some fresh clothes and rode to the Blood bank where I gave up 902ml of amber plasma, chatted with the nurses, watched a comedic film then ate cake and biscuits in air conditioned comfort.  

I sat there in the bloodbank, feeling totally at ease with myself. 

Summary: It had been a long day, I had observed the capricious extremes of my fickle emotional stability so easily affected by environment and the chemical reactions of my biology. Cycling miles eases my restlessness, sitting purposefully doing nothing settles my mind, doings something I feel is useful helps me gain perspective between the irrational fluctuations of my monkey mind and the capacity of my body to manifest change in the material world around me.

Final Act: Riding home I noticed the giant smoke plume hadn't diminished. Like any thing of such a scale regardless of it's ferocity of the harm it threatens, its enormity has weight, gravity. It draws the curious toward it. I followed the plume to Northlakes and Marrara Golf Course and could see the flames licking at the fence, smoke and flames rising like a tsunami, Shiva dances over the canopy. The roaring thunder of dry fuel consumed by flame. Late dry season fires are a bitch! 

Thank you oh lord for this day, one day, just a day. My day on this earth, should it end now so be it.  

Monday, October 14, 2019


Without music where would we be? 
For many indigenous people music is the only way some stories can be told. When news is shared that cannot be spoken directly it is sung. The clap sticks will sound the message and song will indicate the nature of the message. To the trained ear the sound is unmistakable. If heard at the end of a telephone the sound resonating from the ear peace is enough to silence all within earshot. So powerful is our emotional instinct for music.

Sometimes a song will play on the radio that I haven't heard for many years. It could be some corny 80s New Romantic synthesized stuff, or AC/DC... it doesn't matter the quality or how popular the song may be. Critics opinions are irrelevant when it comes to the psychic connection between the sound and the listener. If I connected with it at a particular time in my life, I am invariably returned to some exact moment in my past when the music impacted on me emotionally. 

Music like smell somehow creates a channel directly to the past! It's like the song says, '...With a bit of a mind flip
You're into the time slip
And nothing can ever be the same...'

Recently I heard the song 'Vienna' by Ultravox. Every hollow beat in the opening of Vienna echoed the hopeful anticipation of my youth the synthesizer stuck like a hook into the endless yearning of twelve year old me. Ha! In an instant I was reliving exactly what I felt so many years ago. 

For the past three weeks I've been getting out on my bike early in the morning to watch the sun rise over the water, my strength and endurance is growing and the energy I feel is becoming intense, as I ride I've been listening to music and the effect is intoxicating. I feel youth returning to my body as oxygen and music mix in my blood fueling muscles and rushing endorphin's through my brain. As a forgotten song plays I fill my heart pound and the lust for life transmits to explosive fits of speed on two wheels. 
Getting high and low on music at dawn under a full moon. No drugs required.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Morning coast ride

After quite a good weekend camping and generally being away from 'The World', the sham and whatnot, I found myself awake at 5:30am. 

For the past week I've been taking the company car home, so have missed my daily bicycle commute. 

After breakfast and coffee I still had about two hours before I was due at the office. Plenty of time for a lap of the Coastal track.

Entering the Muirhead Estate the air was relatively cool. I cycled east, directly toward the enormous blazing orange glow of the Sun as it breached the horizon, smoke haze defused the light allowing me to gaze directly into the broiling globe. It was as if I could actually sense it's mass levitating in the sky just out of reach. Before long the light became too intense and I had to shade my eyes and look away.

On a patch of unmolested native scrub I noticed the white flowers of a native Gardenia (megasperma?). I had once fallen in love with one of these and had tried to protect the plant only to see it crushed under tons of earth which had been piled up after local land developers had cleared the site. I spent 15 minutes just admiring the tree, it's form and habit are quite rugged but delicate, a bit like a sculpted frangipani tree with terminal leaves and bright sweet smelling flowers, the bark has a soft yellowish hue that makes it seem quite out of place in the Savannah woodland. 

Approaching Buffallo creek I passed an older man about to start a hike, possibly into town along the coastal path, he had a small pack and his woman was kissing him farewell. It touched me to see this tender moment, I smiled at them and the woman smiled back. With one look she slew the miserable cynic on my shoulder.

The beach was now in full light, I moved on from the WWII bunker, allowing some space between the hiker and myself. Mornings like this are for solitude, nobody wants to be crowded in such places. Timeless, open, free of obligation. Whatever demands they might wish to impart or impose are dead while the sleepers snooze.

Morning Glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae)

As I roll past a particularly lovely stand of Casuarina's I noticed a tight clump of Beach Morning Glory (Ipomoea pes-caprae). Every time I pass this way the beach lures me to stop and rest. it's at a spot just beyond the point at Lee Point facing North East. There is a good energy.

There is a Kingfisher in this image, too small to see
After cycling along the sadly denuded monsoon vine forest I took the mangrove trail toward Casuarina Beach, entering the mangroves from the dry and open savanna is like stepping into another dimension. The sound of a black butcher Bird rang out as soon as I crossed that line. The tide was coming in and I stopped to watch small fish swarming in the shallow stream under the bridge. A jewel of blue flashed by my face, I followed it's path as it landed on the areal roots of a mangrove further down the creek. It was an Azure Kingfisher! So happy to be here right now.

Time was ticking away so I took the Rockland's drive trail back past the hospital and on to Vanderlyn. 

I was cruising under the powerlines headed toward Hibiscus shops when I spotted a curious looking creature strutting across the grass towards me.

Chooky Coming back for another chat

I stopped and re-focused my eyes. A chook! A little red chicken was making it's way straight for me. I stood still and waited for her to arrive, thinking any movement would scare her off. No chance! She came straight up to me and started clucking and looking for food. Poor thing must have been lost. I had a brief chat with her to reassure her that she'd be OK so long as she stayed off the road. Meanwhile a jogger passed and had a bit of a chuckle at the affair. 

By now I knew I would need to keep moving if I wanted to be at work on time. Something deep inside me said.... Nothing... Absolutely nothing, the thought of work passed, the moment was just too perfect. I remained peacefully in the company of the chicken until she decided to continue her foraging, then I naturally continued my ride. Not thinking about work, not thinking about time, not imagining what I would should could or must do... Just rolling along as God intended.

Walker Creek

Great camp site just a short drive out of Darwin.

Big thanks to my friends at Darwin Bushwalking club for organizing an easy overnighter  suitable for the kids.

The waking was easy, the campsite clean and the creek still full of crystal clear flowing water.


Tuesday, October 01, 2019

In the Devil's hand

A thought for further investigation.

The King James Bible of 1631 known as the 'Wicked' or 'Sinner's' Bible, contains a couple of interesting misprints.
In Exodus 20:14 it is written:  "Thou shalt commit adultery". 

And in Deuteronomy 5:24, it is written: “And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath shewed us his glory and his great-asse,”   

After being introduced to the character Titivillus in an episode of the Allusionist Podcast it occurred to me. Those literalist religious zealots who are constantly banging on about The Bible being "The Word of God", really are wrong.

If you've never heard of Titivillus you might be fascinated as I was that he is a demon sent by the Devil to introduce errors into the work of scribes... (and capture gossip from the mouths of gossips to be tallied against them as they proceed to the next world). 

So having heard about this fascinating character and his likely input to the 'Wicked' bible it occurred to me that no bible can be considered completely free of his handiwork. After all he is a demon and it is his mission to lead scribes astray... There could very well be other additions or omissions that he has had his hand in and what about all the translations of the bible, each word a delicate process of verbal divination. 

I came to realize that it would be dangerous to hold any bible up as being the absolute 'Word of God'. In fact to do so could actually be the Devil's work itself. All writings should be scrutinized and carefully weighed up to the virtues of our better senses, discussed, debated and considered. 

We should never assume that anything we have had a hand in, the devil has not.