The Red Center of Memory

IMG_2375_1_The Gap

Last week I was running around like crazy, trying to get stuff done. So many things on at the same time, including organising things for work, managing builders at the house and my dear dad’s birthday. God bless him, he turned 95 and still in pretty good shape, but his memory had definitely been going or fading recently and I’d been out there to his flat quite a bit. Anyway I should have thought of it before, getting him a cake, some things to take around to his flat for instance.  In the end I forgot the time and was late when i finally went over there. Even though I’d knocked on the door, he didn’t respond so using my own key, went in, and there he was, had gone to sleep in that hot afternoon, storms and things, with the cricket game still on the TV. Some days things just don’t go right.  I didn’t wake him up,but put the cake on the table with some flowers I’d picked up. Nice mix of tulips, to remind him of the old days.

The mobile phone rang…

“Hello John, you there son”

“Yes dad, I’m here, how are you ?”

“Well, not too bad .. ahh… I’m in Alice Springs…  I can’t get home !  How come you left me behind ?”

“What do you mean, Alice Springs, how on earth did you get to Alice, out there in the middle of nowhere.”

“Well… I really don’t know. Didn’t you bring me here …? It’s just too hot…. to stay here. They have air conditioning,… but it doesn’t …work”

“No… I didn’t take you to Alice Springs dad…. Who are you with then ?”

“I’m with Connie my sister,…. She is out here.  She… lives here. But she must’ve gone out … gone out for a while.

Where are you then ?”

“Dad, I’m in Sydney.  I never drove you to Alice Springs.  It’s too bloody far anyway, why would i do that ?.. Besides, you can’t possibly be in Alice Springs, you couldn’t catch a flight and there’s no way you can drive there and you’re birthday was last week” – I said

“I don’t know how I got here, but I’m here now and I need to get back.” said dad, getting a bit louder.

Mate, how did he get to Alice Springs, I’m wondering.  I look at the phone, it says “DAD” and the number of the call is right.  He must have his phone with him.  Who would have taken him to Alice  ? The idea was crazy.

“Anyway” dad continued, “at least Connie remembered my birthday, which is more than I can say for you !!”

The phone was quiet for a bit.

“Dad, I’m sorry about your birthday, yes I did forget..” I said, feeling a bit like well, actually I hadn’t forgotten, but then he had been asleep at the time.

“Dad ?”

“Yes ! John !” he said, quite angry now

“What kind of flowers did Connie get you ?”

“Well she got me a nice chocolate cake !. I don’t know who got the flowers.  A bunch of tulips.” he said

Ok.. then he thinks he is in Alice Springs with Connie, but actually he is in Sydney in his flat. Perfect.  I got in the car and drove round to the flat, kept the phone on handsfree. I’ve never seen people buy tulips in Alice Springs, and it was no doubt the chocolate cake I’d taken around to his flat last week and more significantly Connie had died quite some time back.

“Dad, I’m coming around to see you”  I’ll pick you up in my car and take you back home.

“OK Son.  At least that’ll be something.. forgetting my birthday.”

It’s strange, I had to smile to myself at least, each of us now comfortable in our own imagined world.  I knowing that he was in Sydney, and he, knowing that It was no problem for me to drive the 2700 kilometers through to the red center in the middle of nowhere – Alice Springs.  Whereas I said I’d be round in 10 minutes, it would’ve actually taken 30 hours of continuous driving.

“Hey Dad, I’ll pick up some beers along the way, we can watch the cricket for a bit before we come home.”

“OK son, thanks.  See you then.”

I flicked it off handsfree, knowing I’d be there in around ten. I knocked on the door of his flat, the TV still on, I went in, there was the cake, untouched, and the flowers, open and wilting in the heat. I walked over to the air conditioner, grabbed the control and turned it back on.  That’ll get him back to Sydney I thought, with a smile.

We sat down together, got some beers, and checked the score on the cricket.. for old times sake.



there is a bird

whenever there is flight

and there is a tree

when there are leaves in sight

there is a storm cloud

when there is light

from the sun setting down

just before night

Yes, this blog is not biographical nor is it a diary, I cannot write diaries.. This blog a daily notebook of feelings, thoughts, modes of expression, rational bits, and then mindless dreaming from time to time.  I wait until the sun has gone down on the day, and it is night.  Sometimes thoughts worth writing burst out in a rush to get down.  I started this blog some 150 posts back, but i don’t count them,. Nor do i religiously blog toward a niche or an agenda nor a numbered sequence.  But as the TV dies down, I think of the bird in the sunset against the storm.  It’s alone, having caught enough lizards and worms for the day.  What is it thinking perhaps ?  Will it go wandering in the night, or just call it a day and repose.

Why  in Australia do all the animals decide to come out at night.  Night requires special senses.  Granted it is much cooler, but the darkness is there, defeated only be the starlight and whatever the moon can muster. In the darkness, the scents and sounds of  the bush get louder as you slip quietly through the trees and shrub grevilia by the path.

You walk for miles through the faintly lit bush, past the creeks and streams and clamber up the rocks in the dark. You hope to make it to the streetlight on the top of the hill before it gets too dark.  It’s already too dark and cooling down rapidly.

Are you frightened of the dark. What is that fright like. Do you wait like a bird on a branch for the sun to set, only to find that having set, you are now alone in the dark and wondering ?  It was beautiful, but now it is cold and it’s time to move on up the hill.  Will you come with me ?  It’s not too far.  I’ll hold your hand as we walk up the hill.  You won’t notice the gloomy owl or the nightjar or frogmouth sounds.


‘yes but its not going to happen is it ?’

”and why not then ?”

‘well, I mean to say’

‘well perhaps you may be right’

‘it ain’t gonna happen’

‘improbable really, its nothing, don’t know what you’re worried about’

‘i mean, ‘whats the chances ?”

‘she’ll be right mate’

‘go’on get on with it~’

‘yes but it ain’t you doing it is it ?’

‘so what are you going to wear then ? You know.. smart casual, business casual, cocktail ?

‘what’s wrong with what i’ve got on — right now — i mean ?.

‘well its interesting isn’t it’

‘.. the belt..’

‘it’s buckle is a jade dragon head, a friend of mine in China gave it me’

‘…and the boots ?’

‘Texas Boots, also with a curious design but really soft leather’

‘…but the shirt is strange too..’

‘sheer clear polyester’ totally see through… but somewhat electro-intensive’

and the hat ? Why the hat ?  It’s way past sundown.

‘the hat is keeping my thoughts at bay.  I find that’s important at these events’

‘why ? what’s the worst that could happen, not wearing a hat ?’

‘any random thought might just escape, while i was not thinking for a minute.’

‘that’d be highly improbable.’

‘Maybe so, but even one highly improbable random thought if it escapes unnoticed, it can really mess up a conversation.  People all stop and look at me and say ‘What’s that got to do with anything ?’

‘and the jade bit ? on the belt ?’

‘That’s actually to catch them, ..

.. the random stray thought that mightn’t escape.

‘Yes, this jade dragon, has it’s head open, and can catch any stray thought’.

‘mmm.. not so sure about the belt… it’s not really cocktail is it ?’

‘No… yes it is, she’ll be wearing a bracelet of some kind, right ?.’

‘Yes, ok’

‘it might probably be jade right ?’


‘So !… I’ll just flash me Green Jade Dragon head belt and offer her the same !.’