Old Man's Valley

Photo - Andrew Stark

28th April, 2011

 …and then I happened upon Old Man’s Valley.

Who’d have known it was tucked away in suburban West Hornsby, you know just down from the Chinese takeaway on Dural Street.

Down, down, down … I staggered, soon arthritic knees grinding toward dust; in search I guess, of the much heralded Old Man River… which one might assume would be found flowing through the Old Man’s Valley.

 Ol' man river,
Dat ol' man river
He mus'know sumpin'
But don't say nuthin',
He jes'keeps rollin'
He keeps on rollin' along.

And yet, like the fly sitting on the tongue of the Venus – I realized too late. It was the eleventh hour of all belated cognisance and this was a strictly ‘No Return’ trail. The rutted spiral thoroughfare grooved into Mother Earth like a shiny black stallion, nostrils flaring, earning his keep at that wet n wild thoroughbred stud up near Stroud. Remnants of grumpiness lined the corkscrewed track as hirsute ear canals flourished within the otherwise decaying corpses of baby boomers who’d never quite made it out.

Luckily my bush skills align a natural flair for well perforated philately*, and I’d soon mulched myself up a small compote of myrtaceous genus gum leaves inside the pouch of an unsuspecting rock wallaby. Whistling ‘Breakfast at Sweethearts’ in an unfamiliar key to keep the marsupial from bounding, I equally bided my time encouraging the marauding North West Sydney bull ants to nibble my temporarily earth bound knees in an attempt to both heighten my level of Myrmecia toxin levels and also to sharpen concentration. Once the Eucalypt concoction had fully festered I buried my face deep into the hirsutely hallucinogenic mix … and before the blowies had any chance to settle upon the conjunctive corners of a madly spinning middle eye, I was up and away, flying off out of that dark and sinister valley like a Ken Done plumed lorikeet atop the chiaroscuro’d chasm of a pallidly mortal chill.

Twas a close call; an experience many trumpet as ‘near death’. And it has awoken in me a realization that time is of the essence, you know in a fleeting kind of, can’t rely on tomorrow vibe. So yes, I must stop pontificating; find myself a new camera … and work.

*For years I went under the misapprehension that stamp collecting was called philanthropy and not philately. And you know back in the autumn of 1992 it got to ridiculous levels when I actually joined a local philanthropic organization; craving a bit of first day cover action. I quickly became frustrated however when despite my best efforts at sparking up a bit of Penny Black, 1840s revelry  my fellow members only ever wanted to chat about poor people and who to make the cheque out to …

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