Far North Queensland
When I was 14, I paused Blue Lagoon for a moment and gathered with my family in a darkened corner of our Sydney garden to watch another heavenly body streak across the sky.
Like many other teen activities, anticipation was better than the actual event. Halley’s Comet didn’t streak. It didn’t even shoot. Obviously the hermitic fireball couldn’t see Brooke Shields from outer space.
Given their distance from our far-flung vantage point, awesome facts about cosmic objects often eclipse the actual sight of them, even if those awesome facts are impossible to grasp. Light years are like national debts – add a zero here or there and it makes little difference to our perception of them. Perhaps that’s where their fascination lies, in their incomprehensibility.
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I awake to the sound of the fan. Tick, tick, tick… It’s 6:13 am and my alarm is due to go off in two minutes. I am wide awake thanks to the beam of sun that is shining through the gap in those dodgy broken blinds I’ve been meaning to fix for about three years.
I kick off the sheet. My bare feet land on the cool tiles. I draw the blinds and stare at the blue cloudless sky that awaits me. There is a gentle breeze in the palm trees and while lost in the chatter of the fronds, my state of delirium is destroyed by old mate next door, who I see is out trimming the hedges in his DTs again.
As I toddle off to work via my 20 minute drive into the city (where I park in the council-supplied all day free parking), I’m really irked I got that one red light. I pass several surveyors who are beginning on the decades-awaited southern highway upgrade. They are shirtless but keep their high-vis vests undone. I glance back at the thermometer in my car. It’s 22 degrees. Ah, the depths of winter in FNQ. It’s quite a challenge.
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