Monday, September 24, 2007

The Grey Creek

I am doing all the right things; I am taking long walks along the Grey Creek; I am swallowing fish oil and regulating my intake of red wine; daily, I vitamize many wholesome ingredients into a nutritious drink - yet the workings of my mind remain sluggish and without direction.

In nine days time I am performing the role of Prospero in a production of The Tempest and I have a massive quantity of lines, few of which I have by heart. As quickly as I learn them, my mind releases them. It's like handling a slimy fish. There's no traction there. Yet, learn them I must. I cannot disappoint Lynne, the director, nor the others involved. No matter that it is a small student production. No matter that its standards are not quite professional and that there's no payment. I must yet prevail. I urge myself with the image of my wonderful costume - the shimmering silver jumpsuit, the towering silver boots... I shall be the cynosure! All shall cower at my majesty!

So, as I follow the meanderings of the Grey Creek, I mumble to myself, concentrating on my task. The creek exists in the buffer zone between a howling motorway and the dormitory suburb of Mt Waverley. I have known this creek all my life. I knew it before it was landscaped, formed into wetlands and filtration ponds, before it hosted at least five species of water-birds. When I was a child it was a pungent sudsy vein transporting vile substances through poisoned quagmires, bestrewn with blackberries and rusted machinery, to the Yarra and thence to the Bay. When I dream of the Grey Creek and its surrounds, they are always in this original state.

Soon, my wife will be home and I must show, not only strength, but compassion. She has been labouring desperately against the Spores, and has found the will to form a battle plan. It is a poor one, I think, for it relies on strengths I doubt she has - but some independent will remains and that is something to be thankful for. I'll wind up fifty and looking like one of your old girlfriends, she said today. A wise observance. Many of my dearest friends, both male and female, have been slowly mutilated in long and strenuous conflict with the Deadly Spores. The Spores treat their enemies and their slaves with an equal lack of pity - and it is not just the flesh they sour ...

>As with age their bodies uglier grow, so their minds canker ...

Then there are those who will never live to suffer old age.

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