And ends about…….now! Thank you for your restraint.
Photographs of me are not in abundance.
Whenever someone produces a camera I normally find an urgent reason to be somewhere else. Whilst my visage probably resides within the envelope of normal human appearance, I nevertheless determined early on that I was threatening to cause bulges to appear in the extremities of that envelope.
I recently discovered this old picture and reflected that it captures much more than simply a moment in time.
My life has been blessed with many things.
One of them is some unknown factor which enabled me to always easily accept my lot in life, deficencies and obstacles included, and cultivate a place of lasting inner peace and contentment.
That place is always enhanced by quiet solitude and nature.
I hope I am not wasting your time by telling the story behind this picture.
My parents had a holiday shack, a little tin shed, where we would spend a few weeks camping out each Christmas in the middle of unpopulated alpine forest 120 km from the nearest town of Wodonga.
My young-teenage days were spent mostly alone, trout fishing, climbing small mountains, and discovering in the bush abandoned gold-miners huts and related relics from a century before.
One day, as I was walking deep in the forest, this bird just unexpectedly flew out of a gum tree, landed on my hat, and every day, perched up there, it accompanied me on my walks.
It adopted me and refused to have anything to do with my parents or other people. It was unlikely to have been a previously tamed bird because of the absence of permanent human habitation in the area.
As we were not feeding it, or any other birds, there was no motivation for it to accompany me in expectation of food.
When we returned the following Christmas the bird came back out of the bush to me again.
Seeing this long forgotten photograph after so many years reminds me of the valuable early lesson I was given about my connectedness to nature.
Now, several times each week, there is this old geezer who wanders through the Wooroonooran National Park for a couple of hours with an extraordinary degree of inner happiness.
He reminds me of the boy who behaved similarly in Victoria's high country 48 years ago.
These days I don't have a bird sitting on my nut, and I can now see that this marvellous journey has an ending, not too distant, at the far side of the forest.
(Thank you to Freedom Smith for inspiring me to post this photograph and story)