Sunday, April 24, 2005

Ninety Years Young

While relaxing along the banks of the Mary River, about three hours north of Brisbane, I noticed a small, speckled preying mantis crawling upon my shoe and watched him as he jumped from one foot to the other. Back up in the small town of Maryborough, after quite some time away, for my great grandmother's ninetieth birthday celebration, five generations gathered for lunch at the local cricket grounds.

When I was younger, Maryborough was almost like a second home to me, going up every school holidays to visit all the relatives. Fond memories return while walking along the riverbank, of days spent fishing for perch with cousins and of various other adventures around town. I especially enjoyed visiting my great grandparents also, mainly because they would always give me lots of ice-cream and other treats.

Incidentally, after asking my Nan about a Mary Poppins billboard I saw on the drive up, I found out that Maryborough was the birthplace of P. L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins novels.

Nine decades of life shifts things into a new perspective, stories from long before I was ever thought of, I struggle to place within my mind's makeshift timeline, while for them, the experience is living history. I admire her for her nature, her energy and smile, and wonder what person I will be, should I ever arrive at that age.

Not far from the Mary River, about three hours from where I am now, there may still be a small, speckled praying mantis, seeking life's little adventures and stealthily hunting for food amongst the grass.

Our friend by the river


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