Saturday, 2 February 2013

Day 59: The Philosopher Mower

Day 59 (2 Feb) A Saturday but up and at it early on because today is the day we return to rehearsals for  my clarinet group, the Classic Clarinets. Time has certainly flown since we had those Christmas concerts in December. Anyway, important day today, my section (the bass clarinets) have the key duty of supplying the morning tea--nothing else matters really. 

Feeding the loris, at 6.12am
So the day starts early, just like any other week day and this morning at 6.12, that meant heading down to feed the lorikeets. Don't know what they do for food in the big wet but it was nice to see them back . 

I realise I should have practised a bit, or at least sorted my music folder. Oh well, some forgiveness is allowed on the first day back. Hard to believe I've been playing with this group now for some 13 or 14 years (we estimate), but it is a terrific bunch of people. Extra nice this morning was the collective decision to donate some of our 2012 concert 'earnings' to people of Bundaberg. We played up there a few years ago with the local clarinettists, good fun. We wanted to acknowledge that. 

Back home after lunch and it is time to tackle the newspapers. Last night's twitter rumours about the resignations/retirements of Chris Evans and Nicola Roxon are confirmed on the front pages. There's much frenzied speculation about the reasons behind it all but in reality, politicians announcing their intention to not seek re-election in an election year is not unusual. The speculation shall proceed for some time. However, having worked as a political staffer in a past life, I know the demands are great. It is a challenging and invigorating and frustrating life. Sometimes, people simply weigh up what is more important--the job or the family, or the querying of the can I get up to do this one more day. It makes for some interesting manoeuvres between now and September. 

Lines and borders, at 6.12pm
And so it was that in the late afternoon I was pondering these and other questions as I took to doing my 'favouritest' household task, mowing the lawn. The rain and sun during the week combined to make the grass grow and though it was all still a bit damp it was time to tackle it. Two things I like about the task: one is you can 'see' your work, there's a finished product, when you're done. In my day job, one might work away at writing for days or months before the published work appears; two, it's a nice time to 'think'. I do mow in particular patterns and at 6.12pm, I was getting close to the end...the ever decreasing patch of grass versus lawn. 

It's like defining territory--the mowed vs unmowed, the at times arbitrary nature of how those borders are defined. It's a topic we discuss in my classes often, international relations and politics and its defining of borders, state sovereignty, how national symbols can can carry so much meaning. It plays out in domestic politics too--makes me think about asylum seekers and refugees and the sometimes arbitrary nature of life and meanings. Similarly, the political resignations in the last 24 hours prompt much consideration. Is the boundary between the public role and the desire to have a a family life, or indeed, simply a non-political life, all that clear? 

All the thinking leads to topics I know we will discuss once classes start. Sometimes, in order to convey complex ideas, we have to think of stories and examples to prompt students' own understanding and then extend the concept and have it re-emerge in its political context. The mowing and related work takes about two hours on average...that's a marvellous and precious time to think through all number of things. 

The sky, no boundaries, at 6.12pm too
At the same time as looking at the demarcations on the ground before me, I looked up to the sky as well. Such a contrast with where we were at just a week ago. 

Made me think about the late Bille Brown, Queensland-born actor and gentleman, whose life we celebrate this coming Monday. So many of his performances played through my mind to the sound of the lawn mower this afternoon...Judas Kiss, Bill and Mary, School of Arts; too soon, too soon. 

From cloudy, stormy, and 'we will ever get out of here', to blue skies and just a few clouds scuttling across the horizon...that's my task ahead again soon, when classes begin with a new round of students ... perhaps some more mowing is in order. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.