In the last few days I’ve worked between Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie. For some this landscape is just bush and an ordinary, long drive. Nothingness, even. Given the gold rush history of these towns, and all that came before, this is vibrant landscape to me.
I had to stop road side as the mulla mulla bloomed bright.
And when leaving the Goldfields, depending on my mood, I am saddened by the big, open cut gold mine that scars this landscape. At other times, I am fascinated by the activity here. On this trip, I had mixed emotions.
My schedule was busy, as it usually is, in these parts. It is rare for people to cancel. I walked across a still warm car park and past the bank of white flowers. The perfume took me by surprise. I stopped to adjust my luggage just so I could take another deep breath. I walked into the terminal and was blasted by the aroma of pizza and beer. There is a celebration just about every corner. I had forgotten it was Melbourne Cup day, a horse race that stops a nation, but not me. I was on the road between two historic mining towns. I suddenly realised I had not eaten all day. I had another three hours before getting home. The crowd around the small bar/cafe too big for me to be served before my flight took off. I had nothing else to do but distract myself. This is no fancy lifestyle but it makes up in other ways.
I ended up getting a window seat at the back. Not the best spot. It is boozy back there. A young, muscled, tattooed man sits in the middle seat. He is polite and with a heavy accent, I strain to understand him as we settle down to being strangers again. The plane is full and as the last stragglers get on board he erupts in greeting to someone down the aisle. Turns out they will be seated together. Fist pumps and mates, they share their journeys since they last worked together. I try to distract my hunger by counting how many times his mate uses the f word and give up because he breathes it. The young man seated at the end of my row is hilarious and I stifle my laughter as he yells out to another mate, a few rows down, “Hey! Princess!” I could just see him as a young child in a classroom, a teacher’s nightmare! His life is an open book and all those within earshot are welcomed to thumb through the pages. With a recent break up behind him, his polite mate asks if he lives near his ex. He responds, “as long as there’s a bank between us, it will be too close” and then roaring with laughter tempers this, “nah! it’s all good!” I believe him, it’s all good. There’s not a trace of malice or regret in response.
The plane landed with an almighty thud and to a roar of “FAAAARK!” shouted in unison. These tough, hard working blokes were not impressed and I had to smile when someone was convinced the landing had fixed his dodgy knee surgery! As we ready to disembark, I lean forward for my bag when I make eye contact with the young man at the end of my row. His face is tanned red, his bushy beard is redder, his eyes brighter blue than a Goldfields sky. For a brief moment he is subdued and in a quieter voice very politely says to me, “Sorry about the language mam, didn’t mean to disrespect. I’m just a wanker!” I have mined gold vernacular!
I’m still smiling in the taxi, tired but happy, while I reflect on my trip. My lifestyle is not a comfortable one. It takes me out of my comfort zone. It should tire me. But it does not. I’m usually more energised by my trip at the end, than when I leave home with anticipation. Perhaps I have worked on this mindset of look, listen, feel, experience. I believe this mindset has kept me fresh because, there are those special encounters I have in a professional setting, and, then there are others.
Yes, I see real people.
Until next time
a dawn bird
In response to Word of the Day Challenge – Jaded