Poor Wombat

Pascal Campion  (2).jpg

The tradesmen outside my shop need the bakery. They glance in at me, continue past (‘wrong place, this isn’t the food’) and one of them says, ‘lawn weather!’

The rain is blowing sideways.

Back at their ute, the tradesmen, who are wearing shorts and t shirts, stand there with their food, serene, not hurrying. They watch an orange traffic cone skid past them on its hip.

‘Council! They can afford it!’

On the ute, the passenger side windows are all the way down, swallowing rain. But the drivers lean over the ute tray, examining things, passing things, balancing pies and coffee. One man pulled at a rope, help up the end of it. They all look at it and shake their heads. He thumps it against the side of the ute. They discuss something fervently, probably the rope. One man, the youngest, wraps one end around his waist and performs a kind of dance. The oldest man there turns his back and comes to stand in my doorway. The other two laugh. The rain continues – surely they are getting cold…

They are.

‘I’m outta here.’

‘I’ve seen Wombat drive one of them.’ They all look across the road. ‘Wombat is a fool. I told him, too.’

‘All right, Murray Bridge, it is.’

And they all climb into the ute, wet seats, wet clothes, the rope packed in again.

I think, well, goodbye… good luck to Wombat.

 

Artwork by Pascal Campion

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there…

 

Ingrida Barks 2

Is it possible to read too much? Is it likely that a state of over- read will blunt our ability to live skilfully outside the pages of what we love?

The shop is busy with conversations and requests and comments about the changing weather. But I am ambushed by my own reading and I can’t attend today.

(‘Do you have The Ballad of Desmond Kale by Roger McDonald, it better be better than his last book!”)

(Why don’t you put a coffee machine in here?)

“Owls hoot in B flat, cuckoos in D, but the water ousel sings in the voice of the stream. She builds her nest back of the waterfalls so the water is a lullaby to the little ones. Must be where they learn it.”

 Karen Joy Fowler, Sarah Canary

What does it mean?

 

(I’ll just take a quick gander at the Westerns if you don’t mind)

(I won’t take Fat, Forty and Fired to read after all as it’s too close to home.)

“This is the seashore. Neither land nor sea. It’s a place that does not exist.”

Ocean Sea,  Alessandro Baricco

What does it mean?

 

(‘Well, about this weather, I say no thanks to it!’)

(I’m after Lillian Jackson Braun, the best books I have ever read. I’m getting myself a birthday present although my birthday is not for another 6 months!)

(Are you buying books at the moment?)

“Stars open among the lilies.

Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?

This is the silence of astounded souls.”

Sylvia Plath, Crossing the Water

What does it mean?

 

(How are you, how are things? I’m in the middle of putting in a seriously sneaky verandah so can’t stop for long. Have a good one.’)

(Do you have any Wilbur Smith?)

(Do you have Judy Nunn?)

(Do you have books on how to play cricket?)

(Do you have Simon Winchester?)

Inhale and hold the evening in in your lungs.”  Sebastian Faulks

 

(Are you buying books?)

(Any Spike Milligan?)

(There’s a queue at the bakery!)

Owls hoot in B flat…

This is the seashore, neither land nor sea…

Are you not blinded…

Inhale and hold the evening…

 

(I can’t choose between these three books. Which would you recommend?)

(I’m so interested in True Crime.)

(Let me tell you about the schools near here..)

Then it is quiet and I am aware that despite being busy, I have sold only a few books. I am uncomfortable that I am not successful. Surely I should be more successful at least than this time last year. Maybe I should have firmer future business goals.

“There is no past or future. Using tenses to divide time is like making chalk marks on water.”   Janet Frame

 

A visitor today commended me for persisting against all odds, that I was brave and she admired my energy.

My future here is not secure.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and rightdoing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about.”

 Rumi

 

Photography by Ingrida Barks