Here’s my response to my latest On the Road prompt here . ___________________________________________________________________________________
A hipster girl walked past me in a busy shop, a mobile phone pressed to her ear. “That’s so hectic,” she said.
Good word for it, I thought. It is so hectic down here right now. The place is overrun with international tourists and kids on school holidays. Parking has become a competitive sport.
Part of the hectic feeling comes from my sense that time is going faster than usual. How can be July already? Another factor is the weird sense of unreality that comes over me sometimes. I feel like I am in glitch and that I am out phase with other people. Conversations seem to happen across a gulf of miscommunication and missed connections. “Have a nice day,” people say in voices that sound robotic, pre-programmed. I wonder if I have strayed into The Truman Show.
Yesterday it all got too much and I drove to a bush reserve out of town. Avoiding the tourists I parked away from the main picnic areas and walked back into the hills.
There I entered another world. I followed narrow animal trails of damp, dark earth into a clearing of bright green winter grasses growing low to the ground. Trees protected me on all sides. Wattle was already bursting into flower on some. The sight of it took me by surprise. Somehow in town I’d overlooked these markers of the year’s passage. Here the natural order of things reasserted itself.
I stood stock still and let the sounds and colours of nature wash over me – through me. The black trunks of the wattle trees around me became my temple walls. A soft wind blew through the tree tops. Birds twittered. Frogs croaked in the wetlands. Something shifted in my heart and mind. For the first time in days I felt real, alive.