Encounters whilst travelling are fleeting, and often go breaking up with some degree of longing. Sometimes at a hostel, sometimes at a bar, sometimes on the beach you’ll meet. Two chips of flint from opposite ends of the earth, struck together . A single spark flies, but the fire never comes.
Here, at the entrance to a 19th century Spanish castle set in the Tablelands of Oz, we step out of the van into the endless sun, swipe the sweat from our brows and start on up to the ticketing bay, dreaming of ice and shade. A wrinkled Aussie looms in the alcove beneath a muscular fan, cradling a wadge of outsized pamphlets. He smiles and waves and beckons us over..
‘Almost gives the impression of a tabloid newspaper doesn’t it.’ He says, waving the absurd sheets about in the breeze.
‘The Tableland Tribune perhaps.’ I suggest.
‘Would read like any other, with a media outlet, a political stance, if it fits your narrative, great, if it doesnt, chuck it out..’
And there it was, about half way through this last sentence, I had decided two things about the man. One, that he was wasted here as a tour operator, and two, he was the type who’s roof you might’ve liked to rest under for a time.. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in my first impression that I’ve quite forgotten the details of what was said next. He had an intelligence which seemed light on his shoulders, and a manner of speaking which gave the impression of a vast realm of knowledge lurking beneath the surface. All who passed by in the sun that day were given this full degree of honest attention. He listened with true intent and directed his conversations with curiously rare regard to the subtle evocations of the character in engagement. He was never selling – only expressing, connecting – and all the better for it. I would’ve been happy to learn from him.
I don’t even know his name. This smart, kind, generous…. 60 year old australian fella…?!
– What am I doing ey?
Well, you know what they say,
A flower cannot blossom without sunshine and man cannot live without love..
No, no, that won’t do.
There is no love without forgiveness and there is no forgiveness without love..
Nope, definitely not applicable. Uhh,
Sometimes the heart sees what’s invisible to the eye.
Haha, I suppose I’ll go with that..
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