I returned home last night from the Goldfields. Predictably, the flight to Kalgoorlie departed an hour later than scheduled. On arrival the airport seemed somewhat busier. I hear European accents that I have not heard here before from men dressed in smart business clothing and beautiful shoes. This is in stark contrast to the high viz clothing and steel capped boots that get removed when walking through Security. The taxi driver asks me if I have arrived for the Diggers and Dealers Convention, a big event in the calendar around these parts that starts next week. Suddenly, the unfamiliar makes sense and I return to what is my usual routine here.
Next day the morning goes quickly. Too quickly. I need a break. I drive to the tree park in my lunch hour. It is the only solitude I get in a busy day. Shifting mental gears constantly is taxing. Much to my surprise and disappointment the Arboretum is crowded. Once into the small car park, I am stuck in a traffic jam of stationary cars. There are scores of people around. A closer examination of the crowd reveals they are not from out of town. These are local teens and adults in their 20s and 30s. These are Pokemon Go hunters. I am annoyed! This is MY park in lunch hour! I am usually here on my own with just the birds and gum blossom. To find people intent on looking at their phones instead of enjoying what Nature provides here, is a travesty. I leave immediately after the drivers in front of me reluctantly look away from their phones and allow their cars to crawl to the left. To soothe my annoyance I decide to visit again after work and, much to my disappointment, there were more people here!
There is an art and science to being alone and yet, with people, with community. I recall a visit to Esperance. Standing at dusk at the top of West Beach I noticed a sole surfer emerging from the sea. He stood for a while looking at an object in his hands then headed to the small pool near him. He climbed into it. As the waves rolled in, childlike, he rolled with it. Submerging himself and then sitting up, his back to me. He did it several times. I was curious. Perhaps he was fishing or looking for molluscs. Then, a tiny glow caught my eye. He communicated in an unmistakable ‘rock on’ gesture either in a selfie or to someone on the screen. His delight was contagious. And, shared immediately. He then rolled into another wave, disappearing for a few seconds, at one with the sea.
Perhaps I am from a different generation. I use technology to see the world, not find the world in it. It is heartening, there are others, who do too.
Until next time,
a dawn bird