It is my first flight of the year. The terminal is busier than usual. I walk around looking for a seat among a sea of people, mostly men. A flight is announced. There is an exodus to the gate. The line is probably the longest I have ever seen in this terminal. They are headed to the mine in Telfer. Smiles are broad as they greet each other warmly in a word, “G’daymatehowyergoin”. Their jokes are weak, their laughter loud and raucous. Some look forward to being underground where, “It will be bloody cooler, mate!” It’s blokey talk. This camaraderie I noticed some years ago but in the down turn last year, markedly absent. It’s good to see folks happy again. I silently wish I could be as exuberant as they are.
The pilot announces it is 40 degrees centigrade on the ground in Esperance. I anticipate a bumpy ride and proved right. The landing is one of the worst, even with my eyes closed, I feel the small plane dip, tilt and shudder. Twenty three landings to the end of the year is way too many. Despite the inherent dangers of country driving, I seriously consider the ten hour drive next time. It’s a familiar thought. I have it every time I take this flight.
Despite the heat, Esperance is beautiful as always. I pass the Golf Course on the left, just before I enter town. I always look for the Cape Barren Geese that roam the green. If they are there, they are visible from the highway. I see five and pull in for a quick picture. They are large, magnificent birds. Distinctive. They take off and land like an airliner, gathering speed in slow motion until air borne and landing with a thud, their large muscular legs seemingly unable to stop until the momentum is slowed down. In the air and in formation, they are elegant. The black winged stilt on impossibly long red legs is foraging for insects. The honeyeater peers out of the green lawn. The wattlebird blends into the tree. I feel calm and centred.
I arrive at work the next day. The low morale of staff is surprising. The funding cuts have left scars. They are having farewells. Other staff are going on leave, unsure whether they have a job on their return. My schedule is booked back to back one day and overbooked the next. Under the funding restraints I feel guilty to remind the secretary of my daily quota, which is less than what they have booked in for me. To add to the unexpected load there is a crisis 15 minutes before I leave on Friday. I work another hour. It has turned out a 9 hour day. I finish work and head to the hotel where, exhausted, I fall asleep fully clothed. I wake just before 8 pm only to find the cleaners had turned off the fridge. My dinner and breakfast ends up in the trash. I head out looking for something to eat. A futile attempt as the choice is either fast food or fast food. And, as I watch the young artiste hurriedly assemble my sandwich, it occurs to me, it is Friday the 13th. I ascribe the circumstances of the day to the calendar. Somehow it sits better with me that way.
Esperance has become a friend. It is familiar, soothing, accepting. I love everything about it, the Bay, the beaches, the bush, the birds and the locals. This time the pale full moon hangs low over the Bay, a smudge of moonshine drawing my eye. West Beach is busy with a lone walker while the massive granite rocks at Dempster Head, at the other end, dwarfs a grown man. The sea at this beach is as serene as a madonna. At Salmon Beach, the sea has “its resting bitchface on”, according to a fisherman! It is roiling and boiling more than usual.
I’m reading a book ‘Useful Belief’ by Chris Hedler. It helps me accept the circumstances of the last two days. Nature adds the byline. All is, as should be.
May all be as it should be in your world too.
Until next time,
a dawn bird
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