Bringing Home the Cows
After finding out that I was a free spirit and not the type to secure accommodation in advance, they offered to put me up at their farmhouse. I had never been offered overnight accommodation and without thinking, I simply agreed. The alternative would have been to try and find some space for my tent on someone’s sugar cane field or scrubland. So down we went into the winding backroads that bounced their way through the scruffy landscape and into what could barely be called a farm. More like 10 acres and a rickety wood-paneled house. My first impression was – “How could anyone be happy living in such isolation?” I was such a city boy at heart.
No sooner did we arrive and we were all herding the dairy cows into the barn to be milked. The son used a tractor as his horse and I was on foot whistling like a city slicker in the movie by the same name, to help guide these heifers into the milking shed. The dad, who I discovered was also the local school teacher, would do all of the milking while feeling the need to educate me on his masterful technique, as though I was being trained to take over the family business.
We separated the cream from the milk and after that, it was decided that we walk back up the hill and experience the sunset and witness the “Great lights of Gympie”. Apparently a spectacle to behold. When we reached the crest of the hill and as the sun was disappearing over the horizon, the father pointed to the city lights of Gympie and expressed his awe and admiration for this amazing spectacle. I looked piercingly into the distant horizon as though I was looking for what I thought was a little known phenomenon peculiar to the region. I stared for a brief while and thought, “what lights?”. Surely those two small spotlights that looked like someone was holding two flashlights on top of the adjacent hill wasn’t what he was talking about? Apparently it was.
He kept telling me how beautiful they were and I was struck at how such simple pleasures could mean so much when a person has an appreciation for the small things in life……two small white lights to be exact. I pretended to be as mesmerized with these twinkles of white light as they were, but honestly, I just didn’t get it and kinda felt sorry for the two and envious at the same time. How could they be so enthralled by something so innocuous and why couldn’t I appreciate the moment as they did?