Before the food cart drags itself up behind its vanguard aroma and I allow myself to be distracted by Jermaine Clement in ‘People Places Things’ I’ll jot a few notes in some sort of acknowledgment to penmanship I have neglected and which urgently needs resuscitating. And yes, that is ‘aroma’ which you read. It’s an experience of the senses after all, this fifteen hour haul through to Dallas, with Jefferson Airplane appropriately in my headphones, an aromatic hint of dinner, while the seat thrums in response to the airframe being pushed through that frigid air out there. We are on our way to Texas, a transit point on a journey through to Toronto. A year ago we were thawing out in Africa as we descended to the lush skirt of Kilimanjaro. Now we fly to colder climes and look forward to catching up with family. And seeing places I have not seen before.
It’s good to consider Kilimanjaro and to reflect on the year just past. Perhaps in hindsight Kilimanjaro might prove something of a watershed. What happened before Tanzania does not look much like what has happened since, and that is a very good thing. Of course the change has nothing to do with a pile of rock and ice in East Africa, and everything to do with a new relationship and doing a year together, an adventure that a short time ago was unimaginable. Underscored by a year of work that has been thoroughly unique and thoroughly enjoyable at the same time.
So what does the next year look like? I have some hope that this trip might help me reset the sights. Recalibrate them. And point myself back into the work with youth that I so thoroughly enjoy. To re-purpose the outback trips back to their original intent which was to invest in relationships, investments that has purpose and meaning and longevity. To re-ignite the writing – this journal is a good start. To get creative in other areas as well, and restring the music ambitions which fizzled out so long ago. Among all that , build a relationship that is scripted very differently to the old and familiar, well thumbed text which proved to have a flaws in it.
They are teasing us! No food cart yet. I yield. Come on Germaine, let’s see what you have got.
Germaine was switched for Frozen in the end, so I finally get to see what everyone is singing about. Give me Shrek. Salt pans and a tortured muddy landscape greet the open window. We could be above any part of the earth (except Devon) but the interactive map says we are above Mexico and that we have a little over an hour to go before we land at Dallas. The Pacific has vanished under a blanket of ten hours sleep and I have had to stir for breakfast. Now, if we can pull the same sort of slumber on the return trip I will be well prepared for the run out of Sydney to the farm.
“Your waiter will be Dave” as the menus are flicked across our table at Reata Grill, complete with a branding iron R in a circle. And Dave it is, complete with a “How ya doin’ folks?” drawl, a shambling bow legged walk, and no idea what any variation of coffee is outside of “regulaaaaaaar or decaf?” But he is a cheery Texan of the like we have encountered since landing on Ross Perot’s turf, otherwise known as the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. We got that spun out smiling drawl from a long streak of an elderly woman in a cowboy hat and wearing a vest festooned with badges and pins. She points us in the direction of security and our next gate and terminal after looking up all the necessary data on her cell phone. Peals of laughter as she fumbled the tiny buttons with her painted nails reinforced fingers.
Dave asks “Wouldya’ll like cream with that?”
We surely would and he bustles off in his black shirt and ballooning jeans. Welcome to Texas.
19 December 2015
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