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)



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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…


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)



Morning After the Storm…

Craning my neck back, halting in my step, looking up at the clear blue sky. It’s so clear, clean and crisp. With wisps of white clouds floating like threads of silk, accentuating the different colours of light to deep glorious blue. It’s so mesmerizingly perfect.

You’d think it’d been years since we’d seen a blue sky.

But the storm hit so hard last night it rocked the house – literally. Glass windows rattled in their mouldings. The roof seemed to groan under the pressure. Foundations slightly trembled underfoot. Our hearts pounded while sweaty palms covered our ears and our bodies braced against each roaring rumble of thunder.

Lightning crackled, you could feel the intense electricity building in the air with each pending strike. Skin crawled as the hairs on the back of the neck stood to attention. Our eyes involuntarily closed from the brilliant ‘blue’ strikes. No delicate white forked fingers of lightning with this storm. No, these powerful blue-bolts illuminated the night, creating an eerie spotlight effect. All the while praying the concentrated voltage wouldn’t hit the house.

But as fast as the intense storm struck with ferocious whipping-winds and immovable walls-of-rainwater flooding the earth –   it was gone.

Had we experienced a tornado?

No. It was just an extremely aggressive storm cell, according to the weather guy on the radio. Typical for this time of the year.

Craning my neck I watch the perfect ‘V’ formation of the large, black and white Magpie Geese. About thirty of them, gliding in the sky, heading further inland to the wetlands close-by. Having sheltered here the night, they did well to hang in those trees, considering the number of fallen branches that lie scattered beside their trunks.

Imagine their aerial view, seeing the remnants and the destructive path of last night’s storm?

Nah, you don’t want to know. Blissful ignorance is best. You’d want to be admiring that spectacular skyline, enjoying that cooling breeze, inhaling that fresh clean air.

Because it wouldn’t be long and the humidity will be back biting-like-a-bitch. Already feeling that temperature rising. Watching the clouds building on the horizon. The storms will be returning and the promise of a monsoon not far away.

Sadly, too-soon, destroying the serenity, would be the sounds of mowers waging war on the ever-growing grass or you’d hear the ear-splitting whine of chain saws slashing through fallen tree limbs.

All so typical of the ‘Wet-Season’.

But right now – this early morning, after that storm, this moment is a pure peaceful piece of paradise.