Photo courtesy of The Artist. Does not do the rainbow justice.
About a month ago I was driving through Northern NSW, between the beach and the rain forest clad range.It was early morning and there were on and off showers punctuated by brilliant sunshine. Suddenly I had the pleasure of seeing for three or four minutes the brightest, most complete rainbow I have ever seen. In fact at one stage there were two, one back a little and beside the other. The back was your bog standard rainbow, a bit faded, liable to missing bits as the road swerved slightly and my viewing angle changed. But the front one, holy crap it was as bright and looked as solid as a neon sign.
What made it even better was that as I drove the rainbow moved as well so it would appear that as the ends of the rainbow were touching down as passing over trees, cattle and even a house. It was brilliant and easily the best rainbow I have ever seen.
And then I forgot all about it till a day or two ago. I did not tell a single person about it. I don’t know why as anyone who knows me well will tell you I have a thing for natural phenomenon especially ones that are random and new every time. Fantastic sunsets and sunrises stop me in my tracks, meteor showers and shooting stars are awesome, wind blown cloud and tree shadows, the bright blue Queensland winter sky, heavy fog, falling snow, the mist blowing off an ocean warmer than the land, corduroy lines of big ocean swells, the sun catching the spray off the back of waves. I can go on.
All these things come and go, some in only seconds and often they will never appear exactly the same way again and yet most of us don’t know or care. Hell even someone in love with the events as I am can get distracted by the mundane the self afflicted, the constant human produced stuff that we seem to forever fill our lives with most of which counts for jackshit.
So next time you are finding that life as we now know it is giving you the blues, do this. Get up early and find a sunrise [this time of year is particularly good in Queensland], leave work in enough time to see a sunset, stand out in and don’t run from the rain, watch the light through forest leaves, look, really look at the ocean, gaze at the stars. Believe me watching reality TV, listening to talkback, drinking craft beer or Aperols Spritzes fills time but it’s not good for the soul. And you can do this anywhere; you know you don’t have to be in the bush or at the beach. Even the busiest cities have parks, NY Central Park being a great example. I spent a cold and clear morning watching ice crystals melt, autumn leaves being blown in shoals like baitfish and squirrels scampering up and down tree trunks 20 metres from 5th Avenue. Sure, the car horns were a bit hard to tune out but I got there.
Which brings me to the election. How’s that for worst segue ever?
I was afraid of this, not necessarily the result but I knew that whatever side won, the result would be close and the losing team would struggle to understand how their pitch to the Australian public had gone down in flames. And of course seeing the result was the least expected outcome the analysis and commentary has been rapid and immense.
There are real problems with people at either extreme of politics accepting that their view is not the majority one. As I have pointed out before the Left think you are imbeciles if you don’t get their way of thinking and the Right think you’re untrustworthy and unAustralian. Both of these counterproductive mindsets have been on clear display during the post mortem.
In democracies governments must rule for all the people and the people at the extremes and the media and the selfish and the self interested need to remember that while democracies like ours may seem strong and secure there are fault lines and stresses that can bring down the best built buildings. Humility, patience and explanation will win more people than arrogance, impatience and putdowns. About time we saw some.
In the end the conservative side of government with the unfortunate but hardly surprising support of some right wing demagogues and a Trump like figure who only cares about himself are back in charge. The simple fact is that they had a message that more people in more places wanted to support. All the rest of it, even the supportive media and their fellow more wicked travelers were only helpers.
A certain person I know whose name rhymes with glaze reckons that you should need to pass an IQ test to vote. But you really can’t apply a value or an IQ test to the electorate and disenfranchise some people accordingly.
There is no doubt there are some clear differences appearing in all western democracies and that difference is usually around the tolerance and interest in change, especially around climate and social issues. Change is always divisive but it does come if the case is presented well enough. So my friends, who are distraught and dumbfounded, be patient and conciliatory and show humility, regroup and better argue your case to all the people and not just preach to the converted.
And you winners this time around, remember you are in government for all of us, not just your supporters and that your role is not always steady as she goes. Leadership requires vision and a plan B and recognition that change is always upon us and sooner or later heads must be removed from their sandy holes.
Australia is a country that likes to do it the easy way if it can and we have plenty of natural advantages that help us work that way. But perhaps the days of being useful soldiers, sportsmen and adding no value to the natural advantages we have are coming to an end. Might be time to get a bit smarter, have a good hard think about the difference between reassuring and useful myths and some new realities.
But most of all go outside to somehow vaguely natural, take a deep breath and just stand and look and listen for 30 seconds and enjoy the world out there. Who ever you voted for, however optimistic or pessimistic you are, you’ll feel a lot better if you do.
Here Endeth the Lesson
Six great Nature songs and/or our endless capacity to fuck it up
Blue Sky Mine – Midnight Oil – Cause nothing is more important than a hole in the ground
Down in the Lucky Country – Richard Clapton – his worst song was his biggest hit [talking about Girls on the Avenue.] Unique vocal and guitar sound and more Aussie lyrics than you might think
Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell- so popular I think people miss the environmental message within
Anything on Fleet Foxes first album – Just shut your eyes and listen
Island Home - Christine Anu- Bit of a forgotten Aussie classic
Rocky Mountain High – John Denver – Cheesy but on message as the Pollies say