The Classic Above Her Class

Below searing sunsets, she’d settle to watch endless galaxies of unblemished, shimmering starlight. She’ll rise to meet the creeping sunlight, to dance across red dusty trails, skipping the skirts of billabongs, as feathered flocks flee from her sight.

She’s flown herself, fleeing smoke filled savannahs with bushfires kissing at her heels. Only to cool beneath the shade of blackened gumtrees, while lightening sizzled across infinite hazy horizons. And, like the rest of us, she too helped pray for rain.

Wide horned buffalo, hogging the back-tracks, were no match in their head to head battles with her. She’d send them scurrying, as well as scattering crowds of lazy wallabies through the scrub. She’s been a safe fishing platform while nudging at cunning crocodiles as she cruised beside creek beds, and steered millions of cranky cattle refusing to give up their taste of the wild.

As a matriarch, she conveyed the hopes of many. Has carted endless supplies to feed her army, trekking across a country she’d seen change with the days.  She’d rescued the injured, guided the visiting, carried the newborn, and even transported the newlywed.

She’d never known what the black tarmac felt under her toes.  Not once had she been surrounded by concrete, or got lost amongst a cacophony of cars that collectively crept along congested highways. She’s never had to stop at a set of traffic lights. Nor seen the extravagant coloured night glow of a city gone to slumber.

Glassless. Roofless. Rust covers her where chrome and straight painted panels used to shine. Now, a body of lumps and bumps, wearing patch-ups reminiscent of a front line survivor of WWII. Her engine was perfectly adaptable to the simple skills of the bush mechanics, reacting well to roadside repairs, using whatever layabout. Be it a cattleman’s sweat laden leather belt, or strips of denim jeans to cinch up a pipe, it was always just enough to help her to limp us all back home.

There’s no comparison to the shiny new tin toys of today that dare to compete with this grand ol’ beast, unbothered about her beauty. They didn’t have her heart or her unstopping stamina. They lack her toughness to handle intense paint-blistering heat, the thick red dust, or sideways walls of flooding rains.

She was the cause of spreading smiles, a part of tall-tales sessions where many shared her adventurous travels. And she was always that stable grounding for plenty of the Brewers’ Best consumed, rested, and spilled across her dust covered bonnet.

She was reliable. Rugged. Territory tough.

Until now…

So let’s raise a beer to this grand ol’ girl, may she follow that never-ending fence line in the land of ‘Landcruiser Dreaming’. Always remembered as a truly heroic, kickass, classic country car.

(460 words)

 

FROM MOVING MOMENTS.

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The Nature Show

My shoes sink slightly towards the gravelly edge of a red muddy beach. It’s where the bitumen road disappears under the floodplain giving life to this red-dust riddled land. The water mirrors the early morning’s azure blue sky, casting the illusion of an inland sea saturating the wilderness. Where, like a tattered crochet blanket, contrasting plates of green water lilies and beads of white, pink, and purple flowerheads open to greet the sun’s new day.

The scene was so serene at first glance.

But on closer inspection…

Chaotic.

Imagine a musical Broadway production going through its final preparations before the show begins. Showgirls, dashing between costume changes are the bright colourful Rainbow Lorikeets and Ring-necked Parrots darting across the water. Egrets stretch their legs like perfectly poised ballet dancers. And looking every bit the musical Conductor overseeing his orchestra in a rich navy plumage is the statuesque Jabiru wading on the water’s edge.  There is a low humming of instruments being fine-tuned by the assorted bugs and beetles, as the Choir warms individual choruses via differing fly-by flocks. Lastly, the hidden stage technicians lurk beneath the water, being the Crocodiles, Barramundi, and long-neck turtles that silently direct stage props and actors to their places.

 I  flick my fishing lure into the water where the road disappears into this tropical oasis that only occurs a few months of the year. Standing there, as the sun creeps higher as the only spectator, I can’t help but enjoy the show.

(250 words)

 

 

One Eyed World of Wonder.

From slumbering darkness, I’m whipped into bright light and warm air – but where?

In the car, balancing on the steering wheel, we’re roaming a new road. Be it dirt, sand, or asphalt, I’ve been there, crossing countless kilometres, to scan sunsets, sunrises and storm clouds. I’ve felt the wind, the smog, and arid desert dust, and sweltered within the humid monsoons. But nothing is scarier than to cringe against a bushfire’s slickened heat, where wounds and memories are healed within the smooth roll of cool salty seas.

I’ve faced wide-eyed green tree frogs awakening for the change of tropical seasons and kissed sand covered dog noses. I’ve flinched at a Barramundi’s watery tail-flick propelling above water-lily riddled billabongs. It was a place to track a sea eagle’s wingspan that’s mirrored across stilled waters at dawn’s first light.

I’ve been swallowed amongst the street mazes, darkened alleys, and shifting crowds. Dodged bike wheel rolls and rumbling engines. Stooped before hovering helicopters. Eyed roaring planes soaring above skeletal cranes, peppering overpopulated city skylines.

Yet, I’ve basked in this galaxy’s starlit skies of silence, while camped on secluded summits to watch the eclipsing blood moon spread shadows across the desolate outback.

I’ve witnessed weddings, celebrations, and ancient mystical ceremonies. The loud and proud singing shouts of team players. And yet, I still heard a child’s whispering wish follow a falling star.

This world contains much beauty which my owner wants me to see. As I aim, focus, snap and save, with hope of sharing and keeping what they see is true.

Then I’m shoved into darkness once again.

Brought out, stripped down. Memory’s downloaded. Battery’s re-charged. Lens cleaned. Then packed away. Ready.

And I wait.

Until my eye’s re-opened to capture another small part of this planet’s picturesque magnificence.

(300 words)

First published 20/10/2015

 

from ‘MOVING MOMENTS’

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Four Wheels of Reason by Mel A ROWE

Four Wheels Of Reason

‘We’re saved.’ Rick waved his arms at the vehicle weaving along the dirt track.  His three companions rose from their gum tree shaded campsite and also waved with vigour.

Amidst a whirl of red dust, the ute stopped. The driver thumbed the rim on his sweat brimmed Akubra, examining the grime riddled young couples. ‘Ya bogged?’

Rick patted the ute’s bonnet then pointed to their stranded wagon. ‘We’ve been stuck here for four days.’

The driver’s door creaked as the engine idled. As he inspected their car, his rubber thongs made miniature dust clouds beneath each step. ‘Four days, huh? D’ya radio anyone?’

‘Wish we did,’ said Rick.

‘Don’t see no recovery gear. No winch. No shovel.’

Four heads shook.

‘D’ya tell anyone where ya goin’?’

Rick shrugged. ‘Our social media followers knew.’

‘Followers?’ The driver scanned the red track slicing through a harsh, sun-faded scrubland against an undisturbed skyline. ‘Why d’ya want media out here for? When reporters are nothin’ but a mob of corruption chasin’ conspirators—’

‘Social media.’

‘That face-bird thing?’

The quartet giggled. ‘We contact them through our smartphones,’ said the young woman, raising her phone.

The driver tilted his head, cocking an eyebrow. ‘Why didn’t you use ‘em smartphone’s to fetch help?’

‘There’s no reception.’

‘That’s why we have radios out ‘ere.’

‘Do you have Wifi?’

‘Me, no. It’s in town. Just look for them tourists sittin’ round this white pole in the pub’s carpark, staring at their hands like they’re prayin’ to some rod-god.’

‘May I take a selfie with you?’ Her white toothy smile stood out amongst her dirty sunburnt skin.

He screwed up his bronzed nose. ‘What for?’

‘You’re our hero,’ she said, smiling at her phone in hand, readying for the shot.

He shook his head and stepped away to peek into their car. ‘Nah mate, I’m just a bloke on the way to the pub where ya can explain all while shoutin’ me a beer.’

‘When we find civilisation, I’m having the biggest beer,’ Rick said to his three friends.

‘I want a shower.’

‘I want a pizza and—’

‘Hey, we could be famous,’ said Rick. ‘Survivors of the Outback.’

‘We’ll sell it to the media.’ Her camera phone videoed their rescue as the others followed suit.

When their engine roared into life and clunked into gear. ‘What the—’

‘What,’ the four asked in unison, as their smiles sagged?

‘D’ya know what four-wheel drive means?’

‘Yes. We hired it for off-roading,’ said Rick. The other three nodded with phones still recording.

‘But ya need to engage the four-wheel drive to make all the tyres move.’ He drove the car forwards with ease, parked it up and walked back to his own ute. Closing its creaking door he smirked at the foursome who’d lowered their heads and phones. ‘Yep, you’d wanna tell ya mates all about your adventure. I’ll be at the pub—it’s just over that hill. Surprised ya can’t smell the beer from ‘ere.’ And his laugh echoed in the midst of a red dust swirl leaving the tourists behind.

First published 13/07/2016

(510 words)

from   ‘MOVING MOMENTS’

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When Traffic is Made To Stop.

It’s peak hour and the highway is crawling bumper to bumper, and at the mercy of traffic lights they sit and wait as a group.

But individually…

There’s an old muscle car with different coloured panels, its heavy V8 engine rumbles, sporting new rims and tyres. The young man behind the wheel is putting on his tie while eating a piece of toast. The sounds of a marketing Pod-cast is heard over a singular speaker jammed on the dash with a white cord running to his phone. Both car and man are works in progress.

A sleek luxurious sedan contains a ramrod straight-back driver. Blonde hair in a twist. Wearing a crisp white blouse and a blue scarf knotted at her neck like an airline stewardess. Her manicured nails tap on the steering wheel as she sits expressionless behind dark sunglasses. If not for the fingertip-tap-dance, she looked like an inflatable autopilot from MIB.

In the back seat is a young boy wearing a private school uniform who flips me the bird. Then he checks to make sure the stone-faced autopilot didn’t see him. He’ll become a company director-driven around in limousines all day.

A bearded man sits in his four-wheeled drive ute with an in-house filing system represented by a chaotic mass of paperwork sprawled across the dash. He’s listening to talkback radio while cleaning his fingernails with a pocket knife.

A woman in the hatchback, dusts assorted small soft toys and solar panelled dancing flowers. She’s rearranging them in a particular order upon the crocheted blanket that covers the dashboard. All that’s missing is a few fairies, a miniature tea set, a white rabbit, some hats and they could have a party.

A mud coloured station wagon with a kayak rests on the roof rack. The driver’s head leans against the headrest. Yawning, between sips from his coffee cup, he rubs tired eyes. His damp hair tousled, chin unshaven on tanned skin. He sips, yawns, rubs his eyes. Repeats.

Two young females inside a Mini, share the overhead mirror space applying their makeup, brushing their hair, all while lip-synching to music. Their tiny car is rocking and becoming a mobile fume cloud from perfume, deodorants, and hairspray.

From his heightened perch above the crowd of waiting cars, the truck driver picks his nose and looks down into the Mini. Shaking his head as his eyes widen watching the two young women perform the well-practised hair and makeup routine.

His passenger is reading off the clipboard with boots rested on the dash, he glances out the window and nods to the bearded guy in the ute folding up the pocket knife.

The lights turn green and with a thunderous roar, exhaust plumes high into the morning sky. And like a washed-out leaky rainbow of separating colours, they disappear in search of the own pots of gold.

Gone.

To turn around.

And do it all again – tomorrow.

(500 words)

From MOVING MOMENTS

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Passer’s Parade

Stuck in peak hour traffic under a sweltering summer sun, the radio rambled about the traffic jam ahead. Everyone waited inside their vehicles that lined up like a disjointed snake sleeping along the highway. When the sound of a bee-buzzing whine grew louder, reminding me of a toy airplane that never takes off.

In the side mirror’s reflection, I spotted Continue reading “Passer’s Parade”