THE ROAD TO GUNNING AUTUMN 1977

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The dust devils swirl about his feet, as he wanders down the track.

The afternoon sun shines through the trees, and with the dust combine to form a golden haze.

A haze that bathes the road in its soft light.

There is an effect of looking backwards through time, as though through a magic mirror.

His swag is rolled upon his back, and the blackened billy swings by his leg bumping as he goes.

His face is neither young nor old, and his battered hat is pulled down at brim, with corks swinging free.

He is the quintessential Swaggie.

The disdainful glance he gives me as I pass by leaves me wondering.

I wonder at the purpose of my journey and the so-called security of my road.

To see and hear the natures chorus to which my eyes and ears are closed.

The sounds of bush companions I cannot understand.

Are gifts he has that I can never know.

I wonder why he walks alone with his dog at his side.

His own mentor in this land.

He wears his status with dignity, where I see only tattered clothes.

I see, but am blind to the reality.

When the chill winds of winter blow and the leaves are dry and fall, what then?

How does this man of substance live, how does he manage?

What place becomes his refuge?  This man without a friend.

The road ahead is empty, the trees are silent and still, no welcome there.

The land is quiet and timeless captured in the moment.

The sky is as blue as the ocean, with a golden haze bathing it all.

As I pass the Swaggie, I know I won’t forget.

How many memories do we hold of times like this and more?

Memories that stir a chord when reality is knocking at our door.

swaggie

Victoria Museum

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About lindandsam

Linda is a poet and writer. As a mature aged student, she completed a Bachelor of Creative Writing and is now a postgraduate student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). Published in the USC Storyboard, 2015. Self-published ‘Where is Gedhum Choekyi Nyima?’ For the Tibetan Children’s Village, Dharamsala, 1997. She lives in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and shares her life with her partner and their four-legged fur babies Hugo and Tashi-la..

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