A holiday is planned. I leave next Saturday and I will not include electronic devices in my luggage.
I will try to resist watching new bulletins.
I have almost no words left in me to describe the state of our world; Actions of many so-called leaders are abysmal – they're seemingly only ‘in it’ for their own benefit…bloody hopeless. Climate Change is no longer threatening – it is here and yet Donald Trump didn’t even bother attending the G7 meeting to discuss it.
The Amazon Forest is burning and, to soothe the consciences of our ‘leaders’ – and to take the heat off (no pun intended) they have promised 22 million dollars to help rectify the problem. PFFT! Billions were given to repair the Notre Dame cathedral, and yet only a few million promised (& when will that happen?) to save the planet! *
The arctic is not only melting – it’s on fire - and hardly a word about this is mentioned.
Russia is firing ballistic missiles into the arctic snow!
We have clowns in charge: Trump, Boris Johnson and Morrison, to name but three!
I can hardly bear to mention Putin.
I need a holiday. I need to recharge my batteries. I need to spend time with relatives, especially children, before I have the strength to again face the awfulness of the world’s situation.
Sure, I know my holiday will not improve the planet’s survival, but it might save mine!
Just as I write this, a news bulletin appears (see below) to convince us all that many ‘leaders’ are more than hopeless and think only of themselves!
*Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he will consider accepting a $US20 million ($30 million) offer of help from G7 nations to fight Amazon fires, but only after the French President Emmanuel Macron withdraws an "insult".
Give me strength!!
I'll be back in a few weeks.
Story from a Teacher
I was a primary school teacher for over thirty years. It was a job that I loved but, when I was in my fifties, I left fulltime teaching as I could no longer do exhaustion.
I still remember most of the children (there were hundreds) who each spent at least a year ‘in my hands’. I loved them – and some of them even loved me, I am sure.
Each child had a story in which I became a part.
Here, I have included a story of one small boy, recalled from some years ago.
I called it, ‘A Year with Billy O’Dowd’:
He was the youngest of a large farming family; happy-go-lucky, cheeky and unbelievably grubby. Billy O’Dowd had been a thorn in the side of his first two teachers. I was the third teacher to have the pleasure of Billy’s company for a year.
Now he was in Year Two, he was even more competent at creating chaos. Blissfully unconcerned with his grotty appearance, Billy also seemed unaware of the difference between right and wrong and had absolutely no awe or fear of any chastisement, punishment or threat, even when issued by the school principal. At just seven years old, Billy was one of those kids who makes you wonder why on earth you ever wanted to make a career of teaching.
In the playground, Billy was not one to get into fights or arguments. That was not how he caused continuous stress. No, Billy was the one to always be ‘out-of-bounds’, looking for an imaginary snake or chasing the ball he was sure had gone over into the adjoining property. Billy would be the volunteer to fetch the wayward football from the school roof (without permission, of course). He could run like the wind and climb like a small Sumatran orangutan. If there was a school rule Billy had not broken, I was unaware of it.
Billy’s academic achievement was a somewhat secondary concern for me while dealing with him. Keeping his little bottom on a chair for more than 60 seconds was a major accomplishment. To have him complete any set task, a miracle. I’m sure he lost more library books and readers that the rest of the school student population put together. And any books that weren’t lost, were often barely in a suitable condition to be returned to the shelf.
All Billy’s possessions were battered, bent, torn and (mostly) filthy.
As winter approached, Billy began wearing a dark blue nylon parka every day. He really liked it and kept it on when in the classroom.The edges of the parka’s collar were often in his mouth. Eventually he could even talk while chomping away on the collar. After a while, he began to nibble at the cuffs also. Perhaps there was a deficiency in his diet. One day, for ‘play-lunch’, he brought to school a tube of blue toothpaste, which he proceeded to squeeze into his mouth, have a little chew and then swallow. At my stern expression of disapproval, his calm reply was, “But, it’s delicious!”
Every school day of every year, Billy ordered a meat pie from the school canteen. Summer or winter, a pie was his lunch. (That’s about 1,400 pies over the years, I think). Whether it was the pie diet or the thick layer of dirt that covered his skin and provided some sort of protection from virus attack, is anyone's guess, but Billy was never ill. His school attendance record was perfect. So there was no respite for his teacher for even a day.
But there was no doubting he was a happy little boy. The fact that Billy was almost always in some sort of trouble at school was of no consequence to him. It was water off a duck’s back. He was not purposely a horrible little kid. That each of his teachers, in turn, ended up a little the worse for wear after the experience of a year spent in Billy’s company was certainly no concern of his.
As my year with Billy rolled towards a close, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. My heart was also feeling lighter, because now he could read a little, his Maths was “coming along” (as we say) and even some pages of his workbook were still intact. There was only two-thirds of the old blue parka left (Billy having eaten much of it) but otherwise I felt quite successful. At least I had survived.
This was all way back in the 1980s.
Several years after he had left school, I came across Billy, the grown teenager, with some mates at a tourist area in our part of the country. He still looked very much the same, only much taller.
“Hello, Billy,” I greeted him brightly.
“G’day,” he replied and, before I was out of earshot, he turned to his mates and said, “Who the f--- was that?”
No Turning Back.
Once upon a time, teenagers used to sit in milk bars and drink milk shakes from tall glasses, topping the yummy liquid up from icy-cold metal containers. Now kids barge into a shop, quickly purchase, not a milk shake, but a ‘slushy’ in a flimsy plastic container, with plastic lid and plastic straw.
Once it is hastily consumed the plastic stuff is tossed away – sometimes in a bin, oft times just anywhere.
Is this a ‘no turning back’ situation?
Let’s have a quick random count of other ‘no turning backs’:
However, there are TWO deadly serious ‘no turning backs’ that deserve a mention:
Concerning the American gun situation, where ‘fear of the other’ has escalated to the point of insanity and turned into ‘hate of the other’, many U.S. citizens cannot comprehend how people in other countries such as Australia can ever feel safe if they don’t carry a firearm. That’s craziness gone too far – and now it is quite possibly beyond turning back. Poor America.
As far as Climate Change – or Global Warming – no matter what you name it, it may sadly be beyond us to drag the world back to sustainable levels. Existence on our once beautiful planet is threatened and yet still some leaders are unwilling to forego their dependence on their coal lobbyist donors to do anything serious (& effective) about it. Can we ever retrieve all that we have lost? Poor World.
HAVE WE REACHED NO TURNING BACK?
A Gift of Bananas
Stopping by the fruit market stall with my small calico bag ready to fill with bananas, I was greeted by a young woman (of perhaps Indian descent) who asked me if I wanted some bananas.
‘Yes’, I answered, ‘I’m about to buy some.’
‘Here’, said the stranger, ‘I have some bananas for you,’ and she proffered a bag full of lovely bananas.
‘Oh, no’, I said, 'You can’t give me your bananas.’
‘But I have bought them for you,’ she said. ‘Here, see, this is the receipt to show I have just bought them.’
I protested again, ‘But you can't give me your bananas. I am just about to buy some.’
The stranger took a breath and said, ‘I really want you to have these bananas.’ And she went on to explain that, every week, she bought something just to give away and today she had bought bananas and she wished me to have them.
I must have looked totally confused, but she further explained that she was from overseas and, even though she had a husband and children here in Australia, she missed the rest of her family very much.
She said that to regularly give something away made her feel connected to her new home - and she again asked me (begged, almost) to take the offered bananas.
After listening to her story, I was a little overwhelmed and was feeling a little teary. I accepted the bananas and it was then that she asked if she could ‘have a hug’.
I more than willingly obliged and gave her a big hug. Then I looked closely at her and asked, ‘Do I remind you of your mother?’
‘Oh yes,’ she answered, tears welling in her eyes.
Another mutual hug ensued as I told her what a lovely, thoughtful person she was to give something away every week.
After both of us, blinking back further tears and me with lots of thankyous, there was not much more that we could say to each other.
As I held on to the gift of 2 kgs of bananas, we parted, neither knowing each other’s names nor sharing any other contact information.
They were beautiful bananas.
Later that day I made a banana cake for my grandson. My husband and I ate the remaining bananas over the following days, thanking our generous mystery donor with each bite.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.