Lay down your map and compass,
and those dog-eared travel guides.
Rest your weary eyes from so much looking,
your tired feet from so much looking,
your aching heart from so much hoping.
Lay down on the soft green grass
wet with morning dew, and watch as
the tree heavy with pendulous pears
bends her long branches toward you,
offering you perfection in every sweet bite.
Give up the weight of knowing,
for the reverence of quiet attention
and curiosity, for the delight of
juice that runs in generous streams
down your chin.
Christine Valters Paintner
When you find yourself in a remote place you welcome any overtures of friendship. loneliness, culture shock and generally figuring out how you’re going to fill in the hours after work can be quite a challenge.
A sulphur-crested cockatoo befriended Fasi and I one afternoon. It was sitting on the guttering of the clinic building just above our heads, leaning over peering at us as we talked. When we walked the hundred or so metres home along the red dirt track, it flew through the gum trees, over our heads and landed on the metal railing outside the kitchen, loudly calling “hello”. It must have once been someone’s pet, although we never found out whose, and it never ventured far from the back verandah and it’s water and sunflower seed tray, from the day it arrived till the day we left.
I loved that bird, it brought another dimension to the harsh life I was experiencing in Aurukun. Just watching it waddle about on the railing or wandering into the house made me smile.