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…..like 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.