Feed on

air of change

I live next to a winding walk-bicycle path that meanders along a creek, bordered by low hanging gum trees and other native shrubbery. It’s a constant source of joy, particularly for the kids, who bike ride on the path, scooter, walk or run with either myself or their dad trailing behind.

I like to walk it for another reason…the clear-your-head kind of reason.

It blows the fuzzies to kingdom-come in around twenty minutes. Particularly in the early phases of the evening when grasshoppers serenade you with their knee-songs, stopping only if you crunch a little too close to their choirs.

And it was one of those walks I took today.

A mind cleanse, end-of-year-is-fast-approaching, walk.

By myself.

Oh-nine has on the whole been kinda okay. Can’t complain too much… even if it did pose a few hairy moments… a birthday I wasn’t looking forward to and a business decision that needed to be made. As I was thinking of both, a young woman in incredibly tight lycra overtook my own relatively brisk pace with her strut-of-youth… you know the kind… all perk, not a millimeter of jiggle…anywhere, long perfect fake pink nails clutched carefully around matching pink weights, i-pod blasting out a beat, blonde ponytail whipping from side to side.

It slowed me a bit. Or, maybe floored me a little. But it didn’t completely break my stride.

I began thinking back to my own early twenties. That enormous feeling that the world was a bowl of possibilities. Everything back then was magnified and dramatic.

Having children certainly pops the ole perspective-specs on you.

Some cyclists whiz by me, puffing and ringing their tinny little bells. I step to the side and realise I’m right near a well known mark in the pathway. A mark that is embedded with my family history.

Last year the local council spent a ridiculous amount of time fixing a section of the walk path. It became a source of mirth over how ‘fekkin long’ they took to do it. And the kids joked about sneaking out at night to carve their names into the concrete… I frowned a lot about it… but on the inside I was laughing.

One afternoon we returned home to find a brilliantly dull-grey square of freshly laid cement, roped by orange flags… and not a council worker in sight.

My son looked at me expectantly.

I dunno… my stars must have been aligned with the planet Whogivesadamn, because all my previous lectures about the huge cost of vandalism to our society blahblahdy-blahblah dissolved and I simply nodded.

It was all the boy needed, tearing down the street, picking up a good sized twig along the way.

I went inside.

After a few minutes he came back from his little escapade sporting the cheekiest bloody grin on his face. He proudly announced that he had written… my name in the concrete.


I nearly died on the spot!

I rushed down the path to see if I could undo what he had done…and found…

I turned around to see everyone pissing-their-pants laughing at me.

M and A are my kid’s initials.

Clever bugger, I thought. Ma.

It’s a word that resonates sweetly. It plucks at violin strings, even when said in the whiniest of tones. It’s precious and also so very common, and yet, from two voices it’s mine and mine alone.

Up ahead of me on the track is the little old greek couple that walk every day, foul or fine skies.

They constantly look grumpy with each other, but I think that it’s just the aged-weathery look of their faces, for they always walk closely, side by side. A kind of synchronised gait of the old and maybe still in love.

As I pass around them I smile and nod, and they return the greeting in the time honoured gesture of strangers who share a passing moment’s bond.

I’m travelling steadily now, thinking of silly things and of important things, like how long it will take me to remember to write 2010 instead of 2009 and of the places where I may have hidden my confidence… when I find myself back at the marks in the footpath.

As I look down a bead of sweat falls right between the letters.

Or maybe it’s a tear.

I feel that there’s an undercurrent in the air, it’s obvious that there’s a good chance for change.

I’m not quite ready for it yet, but I lift my face up, straighten my back and walk a little faster towards it anyway.

Leave a Reply