Archives for February 2010

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The Storyteller

Unshaved, unkempt,
black nails, black teeth
and an old, tattered coat.
You’d dismiss him as derelict
and walk straight past.
Yet when he spoke
eagles soared,
mountains talked
and I glimpsed infinity.
“I’m a storyteller”
he said.
His stories wove spells
of dreaming and meaning.
The universe expanded,
and I felt for a moment
that I touched its limits.
Derelict,
Storyteller,
Spellbinder …
The essence of truth
lies perhaps in all three.

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From Quiet Homes …

“From quiet homes and first beginning,
out to the undiscovered ends,
there’s nothing worth the wear of winning,
but laughter and the love of friends.”

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953, British author)

A lovely quote, rediscovered when going through a pile of papers in my office.

And from my perspective, a great reminder about the really important things in life! :)

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Hit and Myth

Today I left something undone that I wish I had done – though perhaps others may say I’m foolish to think so.

I was driving into the Dandenongs (a local mountain range) and had turned into a road that winds its way for about 10 minutes by car up the mountainside towards the town of Sassafras.

Just around the corner, before this road begins to twist and climb in earnest, I saw three young lads trying to hitch a ride.  Probably in their late teens or early twenties, all with short hair and casually dressed in t-shirts and jeans. That’s all I could tell from the quick glimpse I caught of them as, even while my foot hesitated over the brake pedal, I drove on by.

And basically that’s the end of my story.

I can hear you all now:

“But of course!”
“Sensible woman!”
“You did the right thing.”
“Three young men? You’d have been stupid to stop.”

A chorus of reason and common sense? Yes, that’s true.

But what if I’d hit the brake instead of the accelerator? A different story plays in my head … [Read more…]

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Thankless Thinking

I’ve become aware recently there’s a phenomenon in our society that I call “thankless thinking”.

A couple of weeks back I’d been browsing through a shop and on impulse, as I was about to leave, I walked to the counter behind which the shop owner was sitting.

“Thank you!”, I said to her. “I’ve enjoyed looking around and love your window display.”

She looked up, apparently startled. There was a pause before she grinned broadly and said, “You know, I’ve had several people wander in today to look around but you’re the first person who has thanked me – for anything!”

We ended up chatting for a short time – passing from the strangeness of folk to the foibles of some customers, then through the story of her grand-daughter’s 21st birthday party to her plans for retirement.

As I left I found myself reflecting on how a simple thank you had led me into a warm conversation and a small piece of someone’s life story.

And I was reminded of an ‘experiment’ I conducted for myself many years ago, when I was travelling to and from school on a bus.

For several days in a row I counted how many people alighted from the bus during the trip – and the number of those who actually thanked the bus driver as they left. Fom memory the thankers were only 20% or so of the whole!

For that shopkeeper, a ‘thank you’ is probably the usual response (with some rare exceptions) when a transaction takes place and a customer actually buys something. And maybe bus drivers are thanked more often by passengers these days – at least I hope so.

But I’ve found myself wondering … [Read more…]