Sunday, November 15, 2009


Riding my motorcycle along the highway, I do not know why I stopped there to camp. It was dusk. And there were pines. Perhaps it was that – their colour and shape in this country evoked something other than dust.

In the afternoon the landscape had turned into a dream. As the miles fell away with nothing to invite my attention the back of my mind released thoughts, memories, imaginings, one after another without logic. As my imagination took over the earth became un-rooted, the sky soaked up everything.

The landscape felt like a disk on which I spun without really moving, like the needle of a record player. There were no mountains, nothing to show that the Earth was more than this monotony, nothing that might hint at variety. It was the sky which contained things, but in unity. A blue cloudy eternity. Like looking up into the mind of God.

Movement to my left had startled me minutes before. Kangaroos. They are common up here, and they move at dusk. Clearly there is water and life which I do not see. All I saw was a continuation of what came before. Scrub. Dust. Perhaps it was because of Kangaroos that I stopped. The shock made me focus on present realities: my speed and vulnerability, a potential collision.

I am on a trip, a trip I have longed to take, a motorcycle trip.
Back home traffic crowds. Men in utes are angry. Suits in 4WDs try to intimidate. P-Platers merged into me, and when I honked looked frightened, or aggressive, but continued merging. Some drivers move aside as I filter, their kids waving. Most are passive.  But all contributed to the madness. That is not motorcycling. It is numbers on the odometer but not distances measured in heat, darkness, changes, and borders.

So I left the city for a different place. Truck-drivers at stop-overs chatting. Back-packers picking fruit. Retirees in utes pulling up when I am lost. The mechanic’s van bringing help twenty kilometres out of town. And other riders, their bikes loaded and their hand raised in greeting. I've become one of them.

In a suburb back there I have a house full of possessions. Here everything fills a bag. My bedroom is whichever place I stop: caravan parks, pubs, places by the road - places where unexpected things sometimes happen.

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