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One day at a time

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My friend Snowy recently addressed the wonder of just being alive in a recent  Friday Night Philosophy. (here)
I highly commend it to anyone who has not read it. 
It is a philosophy which takes just two minutes to read and understand on an intellectual level, yet for me, only late in life have I really come to appreciate what it means on a practical daily basis.
The following are snippets from one mans journey of discovery.

I am reminded every day, as I spend time in my "office", of the simple joy of my "being".

No people bother me. (apart from my own occasional stupidity)
No telephones ring.
The air that I breathe has just travelled 5000 kilometres across the Pacific Ocean and Coral Sea since the last human exhaled or otherwise polluted it.
I work, potting and weeding my plants or simply sweeping the grunge off the weedmat floor.
Sometimes I just sit, wonder, and appreciate my good fortune at being able to earn a modest living in this beautiful place.

The present is even more precious when I briefly consider the long and occasionally difficult road which brought me to this moment.

A ten year old boy, in 1959, stood in a paddock on the family dairy farm in rural Victoria and determined that his future would lie in agriculture and horticulture.

Three years later, the country boy, a little fish out of water in suburbia, treasured his backyard garden of succulents and geraniums as a place of refuge, biding his time before going to agricultural college.

Agricultural college taught us that to gain respect from peers, you should be the first to volunteer to jump into the pig pen with a shovel and clean out the shit. 
Now aint that a lesson which should have a broader application in life.

At times during the last forty years I have laboured hard just to put food on the family table.
Jobs that some would consider menial, but to my way of thinking, farming, producing food for people, is the most honorable of professions

I have often been shat and pissed upon whilst milking other people's cows…..working 14 hour days in all weather for minimum wages.

My Mr Puniverse body lugged 15 litre backpack sprayers, filled with 2-4D and 2-4-5T (agent orange) mixed with diesel fuel, up and down hills poisoning tobacco bush weeds, (and I shudder now to think what else) for dairy farmers.

Mrs GOF and little Globet spent days, weeks and years with me, up to their arses (literally) in wet season mud and torrential rain hauling taro and yam tubers out of the ground for sale.

I even spent one day working in a milk factory coldroom, packing bottles of milk.  Only one day.
The very next day I returned my free issue of eskimo clothing, advising management that having to punch in and out on a timeclock was an activity that contravened my Contract with the Cosmos, and I immediately returned to milking the cows who at least respected me as an individual human being.

Over 20 years we gradually built a plant nursery and collected bromeliads (plants native to South America).

Then, exactly three years ago today, the 20th March 2006, Cyclone Larry completely erased the nursery and relocated most of our farm buildings to places where they did not belong… in the branches of trees 100 metres away.
It prompted me to also rearrange a few of the priorities in my life, and recognise that life itself is a miracle.  We have no control over its commencement, nor, perhaps unfortunately, its moment of termination.
I committed to honouring the magic of life itself, with daily appreciation of my "existence".

I acknowledge all the elements of good fortune which have also accompanied me during the first three quarters of this journey of life, including good health and being born in Australia.
I regret not a single day of my working life.
Not even the milk factory.

For now I have daily happiness and contentment, and I will not let myself forget it or take it for granted.

The little boys dream has been lived.

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About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

12 responses »

  1. Good one, GOF. I think a lot of people would envy you your life, and relate to your philosophy. Hard to believe that we share a common ancestry with all those broms, isn't it. Not sure who got the best deal there. After all, they have us tending their every wish, don't they. ;o)

  2. I like that forward looking attitude of aiming for somewhere around a telegram from the Queen though I don't think it will be coming from the current one if we still have a Monarchy.Who knows how it will end but if I have any choice in the matter I won't be listening to pollies and Priests if the big C comes calling. I have seen too many of the earlier generations suffer through "painless" palliative care to be going there. Hopefully we will have evolved to the level of respect dogs currently enjoy.

  3. Thanks Snowy. Here I was going to have a relaxing weekend, and you have to introduce some more heavy philosophy for my ponderation. 😉

  4. A thoroughly enjoyable read.When I was 10 I was probably trying to figure out how I could get off the farm! 🙂

  5. Thanks Peter. My arithmetic doesn't quite add up to a letter from the monarchy……it falls some 20 years short……if I get that far it will be OK with me, but I reserve the right to change my mind when I get to 79.I have very strong views in favour of euthanasia and will probably refrain from blogging about it. Suffice to say I hope to have some sort of plan for myself when the time comes.

  6. Thanks Emjay. You may well, at least from a financial and social viewpoint, have been making the correct decision.

  7. Is my face read.I incorrectly credited you with being a man of mature years and experience. Apologies.I wont be able to resist blogging about euthanasia after seeing a debate on ABC 2 featuring Tony Abbott on the "against" team. The logic demands to be dealt with at length.

  8. What a beautiful place to work, I'm most envious. Sometimes it's hard to be pleased with what you've got (like this morning when I am facing the NW Management Meeting at which I am meant to spend 4 hours or so writing utterly tedious minutes and not saying anything because I'm not deemed important enough) but outside, among the wildlife it's easier. I find that walking around the lanes in the Lake District, with the hills around me and the dog in front of me is the place I most appreciate life. As for euthansia, well, if I ever get anything terminal and it looks like my end is near I'll write my farewells, put my affairs in order and book myself a one way flight to Belgium or wherever that clinic is. I saw my grandparents die of cancer and dozens or residents at the nursing home my parents own die of various things and I'll be honest, it doesn't look fun. I'd rather go out quietly and quickly, somewhere peaceful with some music playing than in an emergency room with a group of medics fruitlessly sticking tubes and drugs into me to gain a little more time.

  9. I take the blame Peter because of the picture on my front page. I was hoping for something younger and more distinguished like the one you have on yours, but from all the studio shots I commissioned, the one you see was the most flattering.I guess I just photograph "old". 😉

  10. Thank you for your thoughts Vicola. I have only seen the Lake District on television and can understand how wandering through it must give you so much contentment especially when contrasted with the work you do.I do not understand why humans cannot have compassion for each other when it comes to dying. Religion apparently preaches concern for others in life but apparently makes an exception when it comes to suffering prior to death.The Northern Territory in Australia for a brief moment passed legislation approving euthanasia, but was eventually over-ruled by the Federal Govt.I hope when my time comes that there will be some facility available here.At present we witness the stupidity of sick old folk travelling to Mexico to buy medication on the black market there, when it is available from the vet clinic just down the road for $40 when you need to put your pet to sleep humanely.

  11. You do realise mine was heavily touched up? And the smile? I was enjoying doing the ironing.

  12. You're just modest.


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