21.5 C
Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Here & Now: High-vis love

Latest News

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 10 March, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 10 March, 2021

Other News

Suffolk Park residents pressure councillors over pump track

Councillors, Michael Lyon and Jeanette Martin, met Suffolk Park residents on Saturday to hear concerns around the proposed pump bike track, which is slated for the Linda Vidler park.

Police operation Billinudgel Nature Reserve

Gary Opit, Brunswick Heads On 22 February residents on Jones Road noticed a major police operation with officers from eight police...

What’s happening with South Ballina Beach?

The debate about the future of the beaches south of Ballina is heating up again as councils and concerned citizens grapple with the ongoing issue of 4WD-related damage.

Be proud of Ballina, help clean up our beaches

This Sunday, 7 March, Ballina Coastcare is inviting everyone who cares about Ballina's environment to Step Up To Clean Up, and join a special event for Clean Up Australia Day.

Heritage Bruns?

David Kolb, Brunswick Head When Mathew O’Reilly spoke to Council regarding heritage listing for parts of Brunswick Heads he was quoted...

Rape, the law, and naming the man responsible

David Heilpern tackles key questions relating to the allegation of rape by a cabinet minister.

Here & Now

Lismore. Tuesday, 4.45pm

A big bloke has jumped down from the cab of his ute onto the gravelly shoulder of the road. He slams the door shut, and leans back, hands on hips, stretching his back. He walks slowly around the ute tray on which is bolted one of those aluminium checkerplate tool boxes. There’s also a ladder, a broom and a couple of huge plastic buckets lashed to the tray.

I see the bloke as I negotiate the roundabout at the northern end of Ballina Street bridge. (Well, he is wearing a high-vis shirt.) I’m heading his way; he’s in the little street I use to take me out of madding metropolis and to my shack under the cliffs at the end of the world, where only wallabies and scrub turkeys note my comings and goings.

I too am finished a day’s work – but my work is not manual. Unless you count the stairs I have to climb a few times a day (which leave me with sore legs), and the whiteboard marker I have to push across a whiteboard creating kilometres of wriggly line (which leaves me with a sore arm), and the bending down I have to do to hear students labour with the intricacies of a second language (which leaves my lower lumbar aching).

Yep, it’s tough being a worker. (And I have to do three days this week. Three days! In a row! Jeez.)

The bloke tugs at the padlock on the tool box, checking it’s secure – it is – and continues walking, in that big-fella way, towards a wooden gate with a bell, hung on a weathered wooden fence, behind which is a weathered old house. He swings his arms a bit, loosening them after a day working.

He tucks his orange and black high-vis shirt into his pants, revealing for a moment a silver belt buckle which then quickly disappears under a generous belly fold. He runs his fingers through his hair.

Steering my Superoo towards him, I hear a screen door slam and see a splash of blue streak down the stairs from the old house. With a clang, the gate explodes open, and shoots out a girl.

‘Daddy!’ she cries, rushing to the big bloke, slapping into him at speed, and burying her head into that high-vis belly. He smiles big, his eyes squeezed to shut, and wraps big arms around the girl.

I motor slowly by.

Another, quieter, slam from the screen door, and a woman, barefoot and hair tied in a loose bun, ambles down the steps, smiling at the footpath scene.

In the rearview, I see her glide through the gate to him. Her lips brush against his cheek to find his ear, where her lips move, saying something, as he stares down at his daughter’s head. He looks up, grins at the woman and touches her chin. The trio walks to the gate, he with one arm over the woman’s shoulder, the other around his daughter, who is still nestled against his belly.

The Superoo slows to stop. My foot has slipped off the accelerator.

In an internetted world where we’re bombarded daily by scenes of injustice, cruelty and pain; where importance is aligned with money, power and likes; where we’re showered with the vacuous memes and pseudo-spiritualism of self obsession, this vignette of the ordinary, this common honesty, this love, has crossed my path like a comet, making the mundane magnificent, the common exceptional. And touching something in me.

I shut my eyes. I…

A horn behind me. Not angry, just two taps.

I wave an apology, hit the throttle, and zoom to my own homecoming.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

  1. “Pseudo-spiritualism of self obsession” is a good way to describe his articles. Can’t stand his verbosity and faked altruism.

  2. Got me all goosebumped!

    That little scene described so well is at the heart of what really makes the world go round….like the closing montage of the film “Love Actually”….it’s a universal theme…

    PS I’m amazed you didn’t run into anything while observing all that, lol!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Interview with Mell Coppin and Zara Noruzi, from Byron Comedy Festival

Byron Bay Comedy Festival: Bringing in the Laughs. Last year wiped out our entire entertainment program, but while things aren’t completely back to normal, it’s looking up. The easing of COVID-19 Public Health restrictions means that smaller events are back!

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Aged Care Fail

Our aged care system is broken. We didn’t need a Royal Commission to tell us that many of our old people have been abused by the system that is supposed to care for them. But now we have hard evidence that we are failing our elders. Some of the data that has been released is shocking. One in five residents have experienced sexual or physical abuse.

Sowing the seed for a connected, local food chain

Lisa Machin If you’ve ever been to the New Brighton or Mullum Farmers Markets you’d be forgiven if you thought you were seeing double. Over the...

The moveable feast

David Lowe There’s never been a better time to revisit the classic picnic and its many variants. With many venues moving to focus on outdoor dining...