Kindred Spirits

A MEETING OF STRANGERS…..or, the 2020 effect!!!

Late yesterday, just before dusk after a very hot day, I took my dog into the Forest. There’s a good swimming hole which has been created by 4WD’s bush bashing, now full of clean water after last week’s rain.
Eerin’s not a swimmer….she likes to wade up to her armpits, wading and lapping at the same time. Then she climbs out onto the muddy bank, throws herself onto her back and rolls ecstatically among the reeds….partly drying off, and collecting some mud to go.
We then return to the Velodrome, which also serves as our local dog park.
Even if everyone else has gone home, there is an abundance of smells that need marking (pissed on), nose to the ground she inspects the oval of grass while I walk around the outside, on the flat concrete pathway.
Cyclists sometimes arrive and go whirring past on the high sloping walls….we don’t bother them, nor they us.

Yesterday was different. As we left the water hole, I saw a man coming directly towards us, his dog, a Border Collie known to both Eerin and me, running ahead to greet her. We waved, then they headed one way, we, the other….only to find he had done a circuit outside the Velodrome and was heading straight towards me. So, we said hello. I mentioned I often met his wife and their dog while walking in the forest. He observed that my dog had a beautiful gait, which I have often written about
…..she has the movement of a wolf….an easy lope which I love to watch as she moves ahead of me. When he asked about her breed and I said Koolie, he had never heard the name. “They’re one of the oldest breeds in the Country, I said, and told him a little of their history…..then made a casual comment saying how great it was not having to wear masks outside anymore.

“I never have, he scoffed at me….”only when I have to inside supermarkets…..Covid is a farce, it doesn’t exist….it’s all a Government scam.”

FIRSTLY, I am always underwhelmed by people who attempt to lecture, or patronise me. A moment of consideration, and I told him I absolutely disagreed with him, that the evidence was overwhelmingly convincing, apparent (for anyone with an actively working brain), inside my head.
“So, I won’t argue with you….dogs are a much easier subject. Her ancestry originated from our earliest Scottish settlers, sheep farmers who brought their Blue Merle Collies with them, and the German Lutheran farmers with their work dogs, called Tigers (Teegers).

Back on safe ground, with me realising I had accepted his offered hand shake (we are all still practicing social distancing), I had been caught off guard by this dying, but very appreciated form of connection…a strong handshake (no limp fish or sweaty palms), so I was both gratified and thinking about the hand sanitizer in my nearby car.

But I had mentioned Scotland, and as he again referred to the Covid scam, I looked straight at him, this total stranger and said “Scottish….stubborn as rocks.” I liked him. He was tough looking, but openly friendly….he draped his hands over the Velodrome fence, and discussed family Ancestry, joking about a dreary family gathering where not much concerning bloodlines was discussed….”just a lot of old buggers whinging” he grinned at me.

We continued talking…a strange, unexpected intimacy. He mentioned a book he’d read just last year, on past lives, written by a highly respected Psychiatrist…..I finished his sentence, mentioning the Authors name, telling him I had just ordered it from our local Library. The ease of conversation was uncanny as we discovered more and more coincidence, synchronicity, and a sense we both shared of being strongly affected by our “living dead.” A sense of them wanting to connect….me, “wanting to complete what they were unable to finish.”

And then we parted ways….he walking along the outside path, Eerin sniffing grass and me walking the inside pathway.
Before veering off into the Forest, he once more leaned over the railing above me, and commented on my dog’s beautiful movement….”Yes” I said, I’ve written about it, “the hour between dog and wolf, this time of day when the veil is thin, when you are aware that your domesticated canine is no longer there.”
He looked at me and said. “I apologise for my earlier arrogance,” and then left.

Spring, Central Victoria, 2020

Best Friends

“They fight like cats and dogs”…..whoever first said that didn’t know much !!!

ELIAS & EERIN, chilling out together in the shade of the Fernery.
Elias, the Golden One, a creature of mystery, seduced his way into our lives 2 Summers ago when I was foster caring Little Cat. Every evening he would appear in my garden, rake thin, bold but tentative. Every night for a few short weeks, I would run him off the property, or if he appeared in my garden, shoo him away, waving my hands in the air, “go, go, I do not need another cat”, and he would run, then turn, pop his head up amongst the flowers in the garden, so charmingly, I would be at once annoyed and bewitched.
Cats !!! The final surrender happened one Evening while I was playing with Little Cat. Being a rather dour creature, who had come to me for Sanctuary, I was trying to bring playfulness back into her life.
Picking a long grass stem with a soft feathery seed end, I would wiggle it back and forth till she, unable to resist, would roll on her side, batting at the seed end….playing. And then Elias came, slinking low along the ground, he lined his body exactly behind her, like one long cat, and began to play. This tactic won me over completely, it was so clever, bold yet cautious, and on that night I gave in and fed him.
The rest is History. I don’t know where he lives. He comes and goes freely. I feed him twice daily, worm and flea treat him, and have tended his wounds when as a young inexperienced male, he was badly hurt by another Tom. He is still a full male, and of the 3 cats I now live with, the most affectionate. Sometimes he’s gone for days, and I fret and worry for him. Life on the streets, is fraught with danger, from people, cars, and especially other cats….and then, there he is, sitting neatly, a small pale golden Sphinx, waiting patiently for me.
Eerin shadows me night and day. If I move, she moves. Outside, inside and back again. But if Elias is here, hanging out on his favourite chair in the Fernery, Eerin will stay outside, just to hang out with him.
And at dusk, as we go walking, very often a pale golden streak will appear, trotting like a tiny pony, then mad dashes ahead and back, circling around Erin’s body, rubbing against her flanks, then side by side they run together, he hears a car, jumps a fence, disappears and I marvel at his beauty, his alert survival skills. The car passes, he rejoins us trilling, rubs his face against Eerin, I run my hands up the length of his golden tail, a jaunty flag, waving.

And here they are, Eerin fast asleep….Elias jumps down from his chair, drops beside her, stretches full length, his tail draped over hers.

Oh, how I love them 🧡🙏🧡

Southern Cross Station

Waiting……waiting for the Train

Sitting at Southern Cross station, amidst the dirt and din of trains roaring in and out again. Tramps, travellers, drunks, junkies, students, tourists, families, people from all nationalities pass through here, going somewhere, going nowhere…..
And all the while hardy little sparrows work their way around the platforms, living on our litter.

March, 2013