Notes in the Dark

April 2, 2012

0225hrs. A character in Baghdad reflected that his true place of worship was in his own mind, in the quiet on the top of his own house, not in the mosque. Here he was content and most close to God; where he felt God was less judge and more sympathetic creator. And in tune with his creature. Everyone has settled into a rhythmic breathing, the early sounds of slumber that comes after a long day and solid walk. It’s early hours in the morning and I am not dropping off but have a sense that I am in a true place of worship. Wide awake with a deep sense of contentment, though as I tap this out I feel the dust has been sprinkled and the eyes start to feel heavy. But as I settle, my mind tumbles and I grab the crackberry to jot these notes. How is my heart full. The sound of settled sleep prompts that reflection. My colleagues are out here under the stars because they want to be here, not because they have to be. They share my love of this sort of  activity and I am gladdened by that. There is enormous reward in this simple pleasure. We ate cake, played with sparklers, popped poppers (no, not uppers or anything else but those party cracker things), threw foliage at each other and told and listened to tall tales. Now they are all asleep around me, some snoring, another laughing in his sleep and I feel complete. It’s a hard feeling to assay. Is there more to it? We are all heading to Nepal later, some walked Kokoda with me last year, and all like this sort of get out. How remarkable that they all just lie down in the dirt. Just roll out their bags and jump in. Bull ants scurry over them and recce for gems of food. They sleep on. It’s the love of brothers perhaps?

PG’s snore has developed some timbre and I want to suggest to someone that if he applied the choke he might start. Who knows what a choke is these days? And only the possums are listening so I laugh at my own stupid joke. The possum rumbles and I wonder if he is responding to PG’s oboe. More likely he has espied our scraps and is inbound with his belly on his mind.

The mist has settled across this ridge. The fire is only a few metres away and it has taken on a golden halo. Earlier, at about 0100hrs the titanium white halos of head lamps adorning a dozen girls bobbed past in a surreal single file. Practising for Oxfam? They looked uncomfortable probing along in the dark, clunking steps, robotic arms and loosely aimed walking poles. Let’s face it, most people I see on these tracks might enjoy being in the scrub but they also mostly look out of place, picking their way through an unnatural environment. They want to be there but are not at home there. Like ducks on ice.

PG laughs at something in his dreams, the possum rumbles near the fire, water starts to drip across the tarp. Signing off.


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