12:30 pm. I arrive at the small airport, the one used for charter flights and off the main airport just in time to hear the announcement. The flight to Sunrise Dam is delayed. The voice on the PA adds, passengers can show their boarding pass at the counter and get a slice of pizza! The room is filled with a sherbet volcanic eruption. The miners in their high viz orange and yellow clothing, headed to the gold mine, some 1000 km northeast of Perth, hear the announcement too. Soon the congo line snakes out the front door. Some chomp their way through their free lunch with absolute focus, others comment with gusto, “Bloody good, eh! Almost restaurant quality!” to anyone within ear shot. Thirty minutes later with the most delicious pizza permeating the air, same announcement and the same result is repeated. An eruption of colour, that settles into an orderly queue and hungry men returning to their seats with their spoils. No angry customers. No angry tantrums at flight delays. No demands for better customer service. I’m still smiling at the memory.
At university I recall my classmates making plans of working in private practice. I can still remember one or two who had aims of working in West Perth, the mecca of health specialist services. I recall one whose husband was adamant working in West Perth was the plan for her. Perhaps due to my circumstances, life as a practitioner seemed so far away, that I really did not plan the distant future. But I knew one thing for sure. I was going to work differently. Influenced by mentors who advocated universal health care, I wanted my services to be accessible. From the time I was a student practitioner, my work focused on accessibility for all. I had not thought this one through but now realize I had unconsciously made a commitment I would go to others when they were unable to come to me. I have reaped many personal, spiritual and professional rewards from this kind of thinking.
At the time of writing this, I’m flying to Carnarvon, via Shark Bay, while glancing occasionally at the landscape below me, the bluest of seas, curved coastline and the occasional seaside hamlet. The propeller plane flies low at 18,000 ft. The coastline is visible but too far to recognize landmarks as the flight avoids the inclement weather over land. Soon we will be stopping in Shark Bay. I love this area. The landscape is spectacular. The plane meets the tarmac with a thud. I always try and catch a glimpse of the tiny airport as we make a sharp turn. A small shack, wire fence, a few white plastic chairs and a plastic table or two make up the whole airport. This time, someone is waiting with a placard! There are only two passengers on board who disembark. There are twice as many people at the airport! But, they are thoughtful and have come prepared with a home made cardboard placard!
The plane turns on a five cent piece and we take off again. We seem to ascend faster than the descent. Before I can catch my breath, we are air borne. Thirty minutes later we land in Carnarvon, flying low over banana, watermelon and mango plantations.
On my return journey home from this region at sunset, the beauty left behind is fleeting as a backward glance.
As I reflect on this I am more and more convinced … life is not about luck. It is all about making the right choices. I know I made the right one. The view is beautiful from here.
Until next time
a dawn bird