Saturday, September 02, 2017

Riding the August Moon - Angels

There are Angels…

Sometimes everything just glides into place! (sometimes)

Posing with bike beside termite mound at Pine Creek

Old Boiler
Soon after arriving at the Lazy Lizard camp ground, while I was resting on the grass and contemplating my next move a young woman approached me, she was curious about how far I'd ridden with the bike and trailer and wanted to know more about what it's like riding the Stuart Highway. I was groggy from the heat and  depleted of energy, but really enjoyed  being able to discuss the journey. It turned out she was interested in doing a long distance ride herself. Maybe that's how the seed is sown? I've had a few chats with touring cyclists and had often experienced a kind of envy hearing about their travel experience.

We chatted for a while about cycling; the road etc… then she offered me a bottle of coconut water. I've never tasted the stuff and always thought it was a bit of a rort but after one taste I was hooked, when I drank that stuff my whole body reacted! It was amazing! I must have been low on electrolytes, it seemed to deliver what I needed directly into the blood stream! After she left I sculled the remainder of the bottle in one hit!Magic happens!

Hooded Parrot

Juliet's Shed

If you're sitting in the park across from the Lazy Lizard you're likely to notice an interesting looking house on the corner across the road. The house of Ms Juliet Mills. You can't miss it there hare hand painted signs all over the outside fence. Juliet is an artist and a poet,  she sells second hand books and is creating a garden that is becoming a story of it’s own. The garden is a work in progress, gradually growing and gathering artistic curiosities and messages for the inquisitive visitors. If she's in the mood she will invite you in for a yarn. If you're for it, or not, you may soon find yourself drawn into revelations and quizzical exploration, an adventure along a path between safe social convention and risky baiting, inquisitive conversationalists are bound to take the detours into something a little deeper.

At a stage in my journey where I was wondering what would be my next move, meeting Juliet was like stepping into the territory of The Cheshire Cat. At any other time I would have simply enjoyed the banter, but on this occasion it felt like there was a reason and a purpose to the meeting. We discussed books, (how to get them, what people read in what order they are organized on her shelves)  art and people, but for the whole time I felt a sense of something hovering above me reminding me to look around and ask myself… ‘why are you here?’

I wandered out of that yard feeling like I’d crossed an imaginary line! I had been considering taking the Greyhound to Katherine to meet up with some friends but as I crossed the road into the park at Pine Creek I knew immediately that my journey was complete. This is where I needed to be.

The whole next day was spent reading and exploring Pine Creek. Lucky I didn't need to go any further, dehydration or too much sun the day before had put the buz on my brain! Woke in the morning with some weird symptoms. I kept falling to the left as if I was paralytic drunk. It took half a day to fully get my balance.

The latest copy of local paper ‘Up The Creek’ had published one of Juliet's poems. I reckon it would have gone down beautifully if she’d read it at the recent Wild Words in Darwin, the theme this month was Erotica. 

If you’re ever in Pine Creek you should drop in for a chat… but make sure you read the sign to check when she’s is available. Be warned though, Juliet likes her privacy so choose your time carefully and don’t get annoyed if she’s not available, she’s not running a business just offering an opportunity for a unique opportunity to meet a special person who may tell you what you want or don’t want to hear, depending…

Oh yeah and don’t forget to bring a few books to donate and some gold coins for the tales. 
Something had happened to me over the past two days, I had begun to feel completely at home at Pine Creek. I had a good book, food and enough money for camping in town for a week if I chose to but the time had come to turn around and head back home where my family were patiently waiting. 

I had finally grown very comfortable with Pushmi-Pullyu, and dreaded having to dump her. Of course the whole rig was way to cumbersome for the Stuart Highway but in Pine Creek she was perfect for getting about town and along the dirt tracks. I didn’t want to just leave her lying around. I gave myself a day to find a solution and then went back to checking out ‘Up The Creek’. Too lazy to read I flicked through the pages and something caught my eye. It was an add toward the back with an image of a bicycle on it. Wow up…. I went back to the page and that’s where I found Shayne’s add.

Shayne works for the VictoriaDaly Night Patrol in Pine Creek. He’s running a bit of a bike fixing program with the local kids and placed an add in Up The Creek looking for donated bikes for the project. Brilliant! This was exactly what I was looking for. I gave Shayne a call and we met up at his place, a few minutes later (literally across the road from where Pine Creek isn’t a big town) 

We had a great chat and Shayne showed me some of his projects and inventions. I was really pleased to be leaving my bike with a guy who was so enthusiastic about working with young people, (And Bikes!) I really wanted to hang around and lend a hand but knew it was not to be, this time. On the day I left Shayne took me for a drive around some of the back roads, including the lookout, which I have to admit I had no intention of trying to ride up. The lookout could actually be one of the highest road in the NT. Meeting these people was the highlight of my trip, it filled me with a greater sense of purpose in what I was doing and connection to a place I haven’t really spent much time in before.
Since I got back to Darwin I’ve been thinking of ways to support Shayne and the kids at Pine Creek. Maybe collect a trailer load of bikes and take them down as a donation. 

There’s a lot more that I’d like to say and ideas I could explore but the inspiration to write is losing it’s momentum and I’m not sure I could convey exactly what it is that’s on my mind or stirring in my soul. 
This has been a solo journey (as all good ones should be) but on reflection it seems clear that being 'alone' can sometimes position us for special encounters. Opportunities can present rewarding and sometimes mystical experiences, and encounters with others. Angels appear through the dust, demons may also await unwary travelers. 

On this journey I was blessed. The spirit of the road succeeded in shifting something within, my thoughts have become much clearer and self-doubt confronted and sent packing! A direction for life, not so much in terms of what I should be doing but how I should approach it is revealing itself through the haze. 

The means that lead me to what my Yolngu friends call the dhukarr (The path, The way) the end remains a mystery. 
I am most grateful for - Fresh water, a little shade and the the kindness of  strangers 
(Amended 03/9/17)
PS - It's peculiar, my time at Pine Creek was most significant but I found it very difficult to write. I  can see my own laziness and frustrating lack of talent with words prevents me from conveying the message. When I read back over it I know I shouldn't have published. The shame of poor writing motivates me to go back and rewrite, where if it were only on paper I'd probably not bother. (I think this breaks some kind of rule of etiquette, it definitely ignores the need to entertain or show respect to the reader, I apologize for that, but for now will continue to write badly, amend and republish... I am sure my readership numbers will continue to reflect the results of such tardy practice.)


GreenComotion said...

Fine post, David.
Those termite mounds are humongous - wow!
Wonder if they don't make a good home for other reptiles.

I like bicycle resurrection projects.
Well done taking part in one with you friend.

Loved your photo near the railroad.

Finally, "No act of kindness is ever wasted".
Your good karma comes right back to you by way of Coconut Water :)

Take care mate!
Peace :)

David J said...

Hey Chandra, Yep the termite mounds are enormous! On this post there is a photo of a Hooded Parrot, they actually make their nests in the the termite mounds, goannas have also been known to dwell in them

Acts of kindness. Yes! The cyclical flow of kindness is the motivation for my actions. On the road I find it easy to flow through giving and receiving with no sense of judgement or expectation. At home I become moribund with concerns of being taken advantage of or thought of as a fool. It's a confusing space.
The coconut situation created such an intense sense of gratitude and connection it was painful.
Exhaustion enabled clarity and removed the overwhelming presence of self.