As I ride pillion through this primeval forest, I don’t think of the ancient trees, how they give us the smooth paper leaves on which we love to press down with granite made from the centre of the earth; nor of the fungi beneath, how one fruiting body brings us certain death and another alters our consciousness with its saprotrophic strangeness; nor of the native bees, how their furry-bodied industries sustain our food security and survival as a species;
of Mr Tait, whose smile was a warning, and how he taught us to bookmark a book with its own pages without damage, and how he showed us how to mitigate injury from possible falls when using a chair as a ladder, and how he use to call all the boys Fathead!
Astride the KTM beast, we ride the country roads of New England, passing mini country churches not big enough to swing an axe (other than the verbal kind). At the crossroads in one hamlet, there are two, along with a pub and a servo, and I wonder if on Sundays the population of around 150 evenly splits itself between the green fibro Catholic and the beige fibro Anglican House of God diagonally opposite. Or do the agnostics and atheists muddy the holy water? Truth is I’ve never seen any flock to attendance, so who goes there? The farmers praying for rain? The fossickers praying for that nugget, the alcoholics praying for forgiveness for beating their wives and children senseless after one too many at the public house on a Friday night? Or are these houses of worship mere relics of the past along with the town’s faith on account of all that flood, fire and filicide?
Leaning into corner after corner on a wheat- fringed country road, we come upon a pair of vintage Renaults sitting side by side in the paddock, like an old couple enjoying the sun. But age has wearied them and the years condemned to a slow rusting death, the for-sale sign long faded. Who drove them to their final destination full of hope they would go as a bonded pair to loving home?