If little Carolyn, the one in the school uniform, looked for me now, she would not find me.
I like that. I like these moments. When you thwart the time traveller in you and find yourself somewhere completely unexpected; somewhere you could never have deliberately managed to be.
I have woken up at 9am in the bench seat of my car with a hacking cough. Sea-dog spitting out the side door, quitting cigarettes seems to be killing me. I am no poster girl for the anti-smoking campaign. This is the second time I’ve woken this morning. Three hours ago I was up sun saluting in my long johns looking out over the dam we’ve ringed our little tent family around and been lucky enough to call, for a moment, home. A group of artists gathered up for the Cementa Festival in Kandos settled in to a private property in the middle of bushland.
Sun Salutes done however, and my cough beginning to rouse the kookaburras, I squirrel myself back into the bench seat of the car for second sleeps. I sleep, I dream, and then I wake. I wake confused. I don’t usually dream. There she is though, cemented in that flash of waking and remembering – the SHE-BANSHEE WOMAN. How did she find me in the middle of the bush?
We all have teachers like this. Tough old broads or fellas, whose only job is to give us a mental spanking and demand you find your mental arsehole and pull your finger out of it. I trained under this ferocious teacher for just one weekend, but for reasons beyond my choosing, she is one of the ones I still keep close. A tough task master who has served me better as a memory than she ever did in the flesh. She’s confused me though. As the dream fades the only thing left to remember is the last moment. The bugger hugs me. She-Banshees don’t hug.
I get up, sweating, coughing, breakfast, hello lovelies, swim in the dam, kicked an eel, why thank you, isn’t this nice, coffee… and then it struck me. Something dropped in. The knowledge that drops rather than is found. I knew why she had come. As I was backstroking in the dam in my underpants, the bush almost echoed with it, “The tough stuff is the good stuff.”
Hacking away, on my journey from Sydney to my new home in Brisbane, just having buried my grandfather, I find myself swimming in a dam, with two compadres, drinking coffee and participating in an art festival designed to foster new connections between rural townships and the city.
“The tough stuff is the good stuff.”
Thank you sensei.
May you stay safely stashed in my dreams.