"All the World's a Stage We Pass Through" R. Ayana

Monday 4 July 2005

Dog Days & the Flying Cow

Dog Days & the Flying Cow
The little dog laughed to see such fun


Now the Dog Days are blowing themselves away and the birthday of Brightness is upon us (many happy solar returns, adulterated one).

The last week began with an eagle taking the head from a chicken as it walked outside the shack. Bearbeard and eye were eating mandarins and oranges and inspecting the latest damage the neighbour’s cattle have dealt to the orchard (in their ongoing ten thousand year old assault on real farmers who actually grow things, unlike ranchers who profit only from death and other peoples’ land) when nine-year old Beamish informed us of the raptor’s attack. “Come quick, something’s killed one of the chickens. It was an eagle – I chased it away!” he called breathlessly as he approached.
Sure enough, the evidence was remains to be seen, in a bed of feathers on the stone pathway outside the door. ‘Peckie’ is now an ice cream bean tree planted by the tree nursery.

We surveyed the flooded river crossing and found that another neighbour was still trapped behind their causeway, but in fine form for being cabin-bound. It wasn’t hard to convince the boys not to cross the swollen rapids. Returning from the river the Laughing Gnome stopped on the road to invite us to a mid-winter Magic Pudding Feast and Dance to be held in the local hall.

“Did you hear about T-Bone?” he asked, a twinkle in his eye.


“I was driving into town in case we needed supplies, what with the flood coming up so fast,” he continued, concern colouring his voice so that we all listened attentively, “and I stopped at the next causeway down, you know the one, because it looked a little deep and fast – and it was raining. So I got out of the truck and noticed a bike parked on the other side, up on the bank – and just as I thought, ‘That looks like T-Bone’s bike’ I noticed a helmet bobbing in the water, right in the middle of the flow. Then I realised! He was underwater, trapped by the flow!

“There was another fellow with me and we grabbed the rope from the back and managed to get it around him, but we couldn’t pull him free at first.”

“How was he stuck?” asked Beamish.

“He’s parked the bike and decided to test the flow on foot, and fell off the causeway on the upstream side. His foot was hooked under the causeway, in the flow of the pipe underneath it, and he was almost completely underwater, unable to move. We managed to pull him free and get him out, but if we hadn’t been there…”

“And in that very minute…” eye interjected.

“That’s right! It’s not as if there are many cars along the road.”

“A miracle of timing.”

We parted company leaving the rest unsaid – the Laughing Gnome lost his wife to the same river in the last flood, a year ago. The dog days had begun.

All of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars…


The next day was Independence Day and the birthday of Wonder Boy’s mother, so it was time to take the mountain forest road to the commune in the valley Bello…



...A hundred or so kilometers of twisting mountain gravel road led us to the Independence Day birthday of Maya, Goddess of illusion - candles, cake and a view to the waterfalls across the forest of fruit and nut trees. Amazing how people can always find a reason to be dissatisfied, even in paradise. Perfect is never good enough in a society built of fractured families and selfish individuals with no sense of interdependence. Here, however, human stupidity is easier to overlook – you can literally always look up at a clear blue day, a night of innumerable, infinite stars. Lower your gaze and inanity can also be entertaining, for a little while.

Soon the party faded and the partygoers jaded made their prepossessing way back to their cars

And to the sound of singing made by birds at sunset winging, the last musos filled the gaps with their guitars…

The return trip was slower in the dusk and forest animals began to emerge in (and merge with) the gloom. Almost all the native animals are nocturnal, sharing the world with us in relay, night by day. The sunshine creatures rarely see them, so it’s easy to understand how there can still be so much more ‘out there’ than most people are aware of. Unknown, unclassified species still defy the categorizations of humanity, slipping through the limited net of gross sensory perceptions; most brain function in humans is simple processing of visual signals - and the rest of the senses and supersensitivities are swamped by these visuals and the vagaries of random distracting thought.

Emerging from the forest onto the tarmac, the Jackaroo Deva accelerated to the 100km speed limit as a car turned onto the road ahead, with a suddenly high beam that blinded me. Eye dipped lights to encourage the bounder to do the same and raised the beam again as we passed in the night; there, right across the road ahead  in the new moon darkness were eighty dark brown cows, packed four deep and stretching out of sight either side of the road.

A quarter of a second later eye saw a cow fly as the four wheel drive’s bull bar lifted it into the air. Its eyes locked with mine as it hurtled skyward in the beams of the headlights - which were now pointing up at the sky – and disappeared into a gully at the side of the road. The cow behind it flew only twenty feet before landing, while two cows skittled by the first spun round and round on their backs on the road with their legs in the air.

Fortunately, my vice-like grip didn’t break the steering wheel as my speed reduced to nothing in a fraction of a second.

Young Farmer  MacDonald was there immediately.

“Guess I shouldn’t have been moovin’ them ‘cross the main road a’night,” he laughed and smiled winningly as eye inspected the damage to the car. The cows, of course, were fine. Eye, of course, was fine. The vehicle was written off, according to most garages.    

“Guess I’ll have to pay half,” Young MacDonald ventured.

Somehow the beast made it back home, leaking fluids and dropping small components on the way.

Eye curse and damn all meat-heads who suck on the substance of death and suffering. Woe betide the serious doggie days!

-         R. Ayana

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