Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gooses

I like living in the Top End of the NT.
It's still a rather wild and beautiful place. In Darwin you can see sights that you couldn't even imagine existing in other capital cities. Which other city in Australia could you get off a plane and see a wild dingo trotting through the scrub before you even exit the airport? Or attend a funeral service at which traditional aboriginal ceremony takes precedence over the a christian religious service? Which other cities would you have to avoid flooded urban creeks, not so much for the danger of being washed away but because of the likelihood of a crocodile snatching you from where you stand!

There are all kinds of interesting and wonderful aspects to living in Darwin in the tropical north, one of them I am not too keen on is the wasteful slaughter of wildlife.

As a bird lover I feel spoiled living in Darwin. The variety of species right here in the city still blows me away. Even sitting at my front porch I am likely to see three species of finch while I sip my morning coffee. There are Curlews and Blue winged kookaburras, all kinds of birds of prey, birds which in the state of my birth I would have considered exotic. 

A trio of geese taking a spell in the park across the road from where I live
One species we have which is quite unusual is the Magpie goose. They are a goose but quite a primitive looking species. They have some fascinating social habits as part of their breeding cycle, one male often cares for two females. They have a very pretty black and white plumage, long legs and a very peculiar looking head, which has a bump at the top that grows larger with age (a very odd looking thing).


Magpie goose is a favorite food source for Aboriginal people and is also popularly taken by non indigenous hunters. This time of year (The wet season). At this time of year some people get very excited to have the opportunity to eat fresh goose. On more than one occasion over the past couple of weeks I have seen people sitting by the side of the road plucking geese, one woman was even sitting at a bus stop, surrounded by a pile of feathers, plucking a goose as she waited for the bus! That was an odd sight.

Ironically the geese migrate into town during hunting season. I wonder if this is because they know there is no hunting permitted within town borders.

Killed geese left to rot next to rubbish dumped outside the tip
 
I appreciate that it is a game bird and it is possible to manage a sustainable harvest of birds from year to year but it breaks my heart to see the way they are treated as a purchasable commodity. There are places around Darwin you can go to buy dead geese, I have even been asked by people who live in Arnhem Land, to purchase geese from someone in Darwin! 

Worse than the buying and selling of this species as food is the number of dead geese that appear, shoved into rubbish bins dumped in bushland or even left by the side of the road! White hunters prefer the softer fleshy meat from the breast of the bird so they cut them off and leave the rest to rot! Sometimes I find whole birds dumped probably because the hunter had taken more than they needed and had no means of cooking or refrigerating the meat. Either way I find it a horrible part of life in Darwin and a disgusting abuse of a native species.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Some sunny day

It was a sunny day, in the Darwin wet season, no rain, humid as ever. 
After cutting back a some of the exuberant growth from around the garden I’d worked up a bit of a healthy sweat. It felt good to sweat out some of those fruit mince pies from Christmas. 

A couple of hours into the job I decided to drink some H2O instead of coffee, wow that felt good, who'da thought? 

Peaceful place - Portion of painting by Geoff McKenzie


I’d just finished mowing the lawn, the grass was thick and green, the sweet smell of freshly cut grass was rising in slow convection through thick January air, Paul Kelly piped directly into my ears, good volume passionate soulful tunes absorbed into my spirit. 

On the grass

No humbug, no other thoughts a euphoria was rising through my body and then I felt an odd cramp in my chest and I thought… 'THIS is IT'!
Wow what bliss! I could fall backwards to the ground in perfect peace and die now with music in my heart and the soft green grass beneath me and the clouds and sky and trees above me.
The moment passed, the cramp vanished and I went inside and had another cold glass of water. What joy to live and die in this thin space of peace and beauty?

Narcisistic annoyance

Re: Blogging and the search for accurate self appraisal via 'blogger' statistical feedback data.

Someone in France is seriously frigging around with my blog stats! Blowing my page views out by 1,000s! Seriously that pisses me off!

I estimate that I have a legitimate audience or about 5 maybe 6 regulars (No that is not including myself!) and the occasional visitor to my blog who somehow managed to locate it via one of the less cryptic titles I've attached to a post, which may actually have spurred some like minded interest. I expect to get around 100 page views per month and I'm fine with that, but, for the past several months my page views have been going through the roof and the the little map thing in my Stats traffic page consistently highlights France as the biggest viewer, for a while it was Russia but it appears the hacker/spammer or whatever the freak it is, has moved to a French server. This is deeply distressing to my narcissistic desire for actual attention! 

It's the bloomin French!
Just another way god sticks his middle finger up at my vain attempts to appease ego's insatiable desire for recognition. Ha! 

Bastards! (The french spambot hacker... not you God)

Monday, January 09, 2017

Costly regrets

Another bike nicked! 

I had been using this one at work for the past 3 years to get to and from the Post Office. It was a beautiful 1980s Japanese made Ladies bike made under the brand name of Indi Hawk. 



Like the previous one it was stolen from outside my office… Two bikes in two months! 
No use crying over spilled milk right? Well I thought I’d write a few lines about the experience just to mark time and fill this space with some rambling regrets. 

Despite the terrible neglect the bike had suffered, the quality of the Japanese manufacturing and parts was undeniable. It had perfect balance, excellent bearings, simple non indexed gears, magnificently smooth rolling 27 inch wheels and all the original parts still in perfect working order.

Like most of my bikes I salvaged this one from the tip shop, I found it about 5 years ago, it’s been a very reliable machine, a joy to ride, and always conveniently waiting whenever I needed to get away from the office.

Regret: I shouldn’t have any regrets, but in the scale of a relatively insignificant non consequential life I am prone, sometimes to feeling that sharp twinging prick in my psyche! I do regret. 
What I regret is my constant state of self-doubt and indecision. (Seems like a bit of a jump from talking about a bike to confessing my deep seated insecurities but they’re kind of connected). For the past year I have had to store the bike outside in the garden where it was beginning to lose it’s luster so I decided I would give it to a friend, who I was sure would like it. (Maybe that is fanciful thinking, transferring my own appreciation for a machine, which, to anyone else would appear no different to any other rusty old bike.
  • I procrastinated (It’s too late today, I’ll take it tomorrow) 
  •  I deliberated (Isn’t it a bit presumptuous to lob up to someone, who never asked or expressed a need for such a gift, to just turn up and say: “Here take this rusty old clunker of a bike which I love dearly, and can’t bear to part with it but I think you need it and I have imagined you riding it and like the idea of you having it, but you have to look after it… etc… etc… yada yada yada) 
  • I grasped (I don’t want to part with this thing) 
  • I feared (I’ll be thought a fool offering junk as treasure) 
I waited one day too long! On the day I decided to act, I arrived at work, checked my ‘secret hiding spot’ and discovered that the bike was gone! Some stinking little thief took it! (Maybe taken by someone who needed it, which would be fine with me, but I doubt it.)

For the rest of the week I was filled with mixed feelings about the loss of this ‘thing’. Was it really important? 
Well it was just a bike and I have more, but it could have been of great use to the person for whom it was intended… and then I went through all that crap again about whether or not it would be appreciated… and so on.
All my thoughts were only distractions from the actual problem I faced. The problems which have dogged me all my life!
Doubt and indecision!
Yoda said "Do or not Do, there is no try".  
In the end I have resolved that the greatest loss is not the bike, but the time I spent procrastinating, deliberating, doubting, grasping and fearing… and so I say goodbye to the bike easily. 

This note is not about a bike, losing the bike is a trivial thing, attachment to an object is a petty thing, people have lost far more precious things, bigger things than things. It's just a reminder for me of my deeper needs. What I truly need to lose.
If only regrets and the 'not doing', 'not Being' could be shed so easily.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Crawling start

It’s a crawling start for me into this New Year I just can’t quite commit to it. 
Not sure what options I’ll have, to live in it, in any kind of meaningful or even tolerable way.
It’s pretty well universally accepted that the world has gone mad, You know, politics and all that stuff. 
I did have a thought that before I give up completely I’d make a pilgrimage to stand with the humans in North Dakota only to discover today that a man with my surname lead the charge at Wounded Knee! There must be something… 
Riding back from the waterhole - Special place last year
The Old Man at GanGan East Arnhem passed away at the end of last year, thought I’d show my respects and then hitch a ride somewhere quiet in freshwater country, find the guku (honey) from native bees and wait for it all to blow over… but it's not the right time for wild honey... and so it goes.


During my recent week off work I did watch 'Dogs in Space'. a sexy romanticized slide into the 1980s Punk life in Melbourne. Maybe I could have fallen in with the punks if I were just a bit older at the time… and not thoroughly ensconced in the bogan heartland, but I doubt it. I didn't have enough hate for either.

I’ve been thinking a bit of a friend who was tragically killed when hit by a car while she was crossing a Darwin road back in 2012.
 
Her name was Vikki! A true raver. At the beginning of a new year I tend to think of lost friends, and my thoughts recently have been of Vikki. I regret that she left the scene just when I was getting to know her. Ironically the last time I saw her she had spent some time telling me a whole bunch of stories about her various lives. 
Thinking of Vikkit today, I thought I'd dig around online, she’d had a pretty eventful life, there must be something left of her. Anyway I discovered that Vikki had written a scathing review of the previously mentioned cult film of the 80s “Dogs in Space” which I don't mind saying I like (the movie I mean, I haven't read her review. 
(Vikki was scathing of pretty much everything, you couldn't know her and not get an earful.)
She wrote the scathing review because she was a prolific writer and columnist…. and also because by nature she was quite scathing in her opinions… of pretty much everything, she was also a Punk which jointly gives her license to be scathing, as well as authority by experience. (By definition her review couldn't have been anything else) So anyway I found a recording of her singing in a punk band by the name of SLUB. Here it is: 




 God Bless you and keep you till sanity returns, or something else transpires.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A jaw on the road



Loss as being

I gave up the retreat from life
The frantic quest for oblivion

Quit my drug of choice 
Turned my back on a lie
Cheated chemical dependence

I gave into the fact of my feeble existence

Stopped turning away

Turned off the TV

Opened my eyes
Saw… and I wept

I turned back to the world and loved it without fear

Witnessed the cost of our indifference

Then accepted my place and I lived...

To be continued one day at a time until it is ended.






Back in the dry season while spending time in nature, not far from home and work.

I slept on the ground in a quiet space. One night I heard a rustling in the grass, then a thumping as something hopped away. Then it returned again and retreated, it edged closer and closer as time went on until finally I caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye. I slowly turned to look and by the pale din of half-moon light, I discovered a bandicoot only a meter away from where I was laying. What a beautiful treat! Such a curious animal, he came to sus me out, had a bit of a sniff, then scampered back into the pandanus. Before I met him I felt a bit lonely and slightly worried about my safety, wondering if someone might find me sleeping there in the open scrub. Having met my bandicoot friend I felt assured that nobody is likely to come this way.

Yesterday on my way to work I traveled along the road which passes my secret bush camp. As I peddled along the bitumen wetted from monsoonal rain, I saw a mound in the road right by that place. It was an animal, dead… a bandicoot!

I kept riding, I’d had enough of the destruction in this place and just wanted to tune it all out! Give me a movie, TV, morphine…. Something to stop the pain, block the persistent and eternal reminders that nobody cares for anything! I kept riding but I knew I couldn’t go on. I can’t block out what I know is true and must be dealt with! I slowed and pulled across to the verge, looked in the middle of the road and found another one! Right there! Right where I had stopped! I removed the mangled carcass from the road as drivers slowed and looked quizzically at why I would get in their way! I laid the fur and bones in the grass under a tree, pieces of meat hanging from sinew. 

Jaw bone in part

Got on my bike and moved off, back the way I had come and found the terrible remains of my little friend, I pealed the body off the road and gathered the larger pieces. Still fresh, red lumps of flesh held together by bits of fur, bones jutting out on every angle. I walked a little way into the trees and lay it down on the ground. I didn’t cry. I just wondered. Is this it? Does it have to come to this again? Does the indifference of people and progress have to be my constant tormentor? God bless the fragile ones.