She walked with the gentle sway of someone carrying a valuable bundle, her smile betraying the preciousness of her cargo. Pregnant, she was walking in simple leather sandals across the Kyogle amphitheatre. Its common ground. An open grassed area with a slope for sitting. The day is warmly pleasant.
She was young, unhurried and exuded a radiance that would have lit up a large village at midnight. Her brown flowing clothes and earthy jewellery reminded me of India. And Tahiti. And with her conical hat, of Vietnam. And Africa. She was globally beautiful.
Her belly, swollen nearly ripe, led her across the grass to where a rather earnest man with crazy eyes juggled three balls, dropping them regularly. The unborn child stopped in front of him, fascinated. (As all children are.)
Later he juggled heavy metal balls which, given his rate of drops, was positively dangerous for the kids who gathered round. Soon he left on his unicycle, falling only twice.
The afternoon had unfolded with puppet shows and live music. Alternative country music. Yeeha.
In the crowd were some traditional farmers with their large buckles and large cowboy hats sitting on straining folding chairs sipping chilled beer from Queensland. Some of the older ones would have recognised this sort of community hoe-down from an earlier time.
Near them was a man in a straw hat with dreadlocks poking through the top and a pair of those fishermans pants that are popular among those who think comfort is cool. He nursed two little kids.
One broke free and ran to the stage area to join her mum who was dancing, eyes closed, to the beat, swaying like a tree in a wind. The child swayed in a similar way but went even further spiralling to the ground and flopping dramatically over her knees (like a tree in that freak storm in Larnook the other night) and then rising again like a funky phoenix. I reckoned this was the way her mum danced when they were alone at home grooving to the stereo. (We can expect more freak storms with global warming.)
Yep. Local people sitting on the living grass with the ubiquitous esky nearby, shaded by hats both cowboy and straw, a dog grinning as it waits for a young fella to throw a stick...
This is culture.
There was a guy with a crew cut, very short shorts, and workboots, dancing to the boom-chick boom-chick of country rock, showing off his dance skills to a woman in a long dress with a flannelette shirt over the top, Akubra hat, and, of course, workboots. She twirled, arms raised, in an intimation of a bush dance.
Her smile radiated across the amphitheatre, colliding and colluding with the pregnant womans glow until the whole area flushed with a communal energy that plucked at my spirit like a banjo solo.
I hope the baby will be born into a world that still has such simple joys.