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Friday, August 05, 2005

(*) Gone bush

Link's blog reminded me of an amazing time that'd slipped my conscious memory - the first time I'd ever ridden a horse. I might have written about it before, but Link talking about her horse ride brought it all back to me quite clearly.

My ex and I used to know a lovely couple, Tom and Sophie, who lived on a small property in Capertee, in the middle of nowhere (between Lithgow and Mudgee NSW - not far from where we used to live at the time c.1999). Tom was a classic stereotypical Aussie bushie, complete with slow drawl and shabby boots and hat - and a passion for singing Slim Dusty songs (heaven help us all! lol). Anyway one day he suggested we go for a bit of a ride. Well, I was born and bred in the city and hadn't even sat on a horse before, let alone ridden one. Horses scared me somehow - they just seemed so farking huge. Anyway, I knew I could trust Tom - he'd been riding since he was a sparkle in his dad's eye, I reckon. I'd assumed (norty thing to do 'assume' you know ;) ) he'd just take me for a bit of a walk around the house paddoc, and we'd only be a little while. He showed me how to saddle up and all that sorta stuff - which I'd never seen or done first-hand before. The smells - horse, leather, blanket - all new to me, but somehow reassuringly comforting, earthy, natural. He got me up on the horse's back, and he lead us astride his own horse. It felt good and it was comfortable. We just slowly rode along and talked, talked talked about life the universe and everything... and before I knew it we were like a few km's away from their place, in the middle of the bush! I hadn't really been aware too much of the different gates and dirt roads we'd been travelling down, cause i'd been enjoying the conversation and the whole vibe of the moment so much. He took us up and down some steep stony slopes - which my horse took easily (I'm sure that's why he got me riding that particular horse), and I felt such a sense of being like a pioneer or something corny like that. This place we went to is now National Park, and it was just wild bush - but only a few km's from his back padock. Tom took us to a small cave he and Sophiew had found on one of their long rides a few months' before, and they'd even camped out overnight in this small hidden enclave. We hitched the horses and crawled on our bellies to get inside this cave hidden from above in the face of a small cliff. The narrow entrance belied the larger cavern further inside, and Tom and I sat in there for about half an hour just enjoying the silence, the smell of earth and years' passed. Tom showed me the small remains of a campfire they'd made the last time they were here, and how the smoke would chimney out easily with a small hole shining thru the roof aboive us. I could hear the shuffle, snuffle and clumping stomp of a horse somewhere nearby above us. It was a wonderful moment in a wonderful afternoon. it's hard to describe the sensation - it was like just getting back to who we should be when we get rid of all the material crap we hoard without realising it (like the net and puters, I guess!). The view across the valley was so peaceful... in the distance you could just make out the railway crossing at Ben Bullen and the occasional flash of sunlight reflecting off a distant car's chrome. But it was so quiet and peaceful. We eventually started back again, leading me once again on a circular route different to the way we'd already come. My horse handled it well, although I think it must hace been an older animal (I think so - I donlt really know about things like that, you know!) We walked along a dry creek bed, still sharing reverenced silence and life, the universe and everything between us - it was a wonderful time for two blokes to just hang out with no agenda whatsoever. It was about three hours later we came back thru the gate we'd originally rode thru, and we could see the girls standing at the backdoor - probably wondering where the hell we'd gotten to. Sophie and M got on well, so I'm sure they didn't mind the time just to hang out together either. Tom showed me how to get down again, how to take the saddle off and rub the animal down a bit after we'd tied up. It was brilliant feeling like a real country bloke for a change. The best part (in a way) was that I didn;t feel sore at all - not a bit! I wholly expected to feel like shit the day after, but it didn't happen - Tom had been such a positive, encouraging rider I must have subconsciously felt totally at ease. I'll never forget the sounds of silence in the middle of the bush - except for the shuffle and snuffle of the horse beneath you. As a city boy, it's a sensation that seemed at one sense wholly alien to me, but then again it seemed totally natural and 'real' - the most real I think I'd felt for a bloody long time.

It's been nice journeying thru the memories again... thanks for the opportunity. I know I've just written it (and'll post it) as it's come out, so that's why it's just like a ramble... because the memory is of a relaxed rambling time of comfort in tune with the bush surroundings.

Mal :o)

I'm feeling a whole damn lot brighter now thanx - it's been a few hours since 'that' phone call, and I'm feeling a whole lot more less stressed and breathing again. Writing this post (above), plus enjoying Brian Wilson's "Smile!" CD has helped soothe the nerves a whole lot. So, what on earth is "Smile!"? Hmmm... it's the Beach Boy's LP that never was... Brian Wilson was so blown away by The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper" that he basically scraped mostly everything they'd done for the project. The only thing that basically survived was the amazing singles "Good Vibrations" and "Heros and Villans". It's taken him over 30+ years to get the nerve to face it all again and finally finish re-recording it - the whole process caused the bloke to have a nervous breakdown back in 1967! So, it's musically brilliant, but lots of whimsy make it a delight to experience. And I'm not even a big Beach Boys fan either! lol


On August 05, 2005 4:39 AM, Blogger broomhilda said...

I envy you that ride.

On August 05, 2005 7:09 PM, Blogger aguy said...

Great account. There are those magical moments when we feel somehow at one with the world, completely alive and aware not sleepwalking thro some routine.
It reminds me of a moment 25 odd years ago. Was walking in the Sinai with a group of tourists. we came across a beduin girl tending her goats. They took some pics then the others wondered on, cackling about photographic gear and stuff, while i stayed behind for a few minutes. The sun was setting, all became quiet and the sheperdess took out a little home made flute and began playing to the goats. Magical.I was glad I diddnt have a camera, so I was free to look.


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