Thursday, August 15, 2013

We sit in the back of the 4WD talking about emu. Good hunting, them ones. Turkey, too, and kangaroo, but emu are the best.

We are bringing back a patient from the remote clinic into town, driving through rough savannah. She can just see out the window if she stretches up tall. Her mother shows me the places along the highway:

That side, we camp. Big river, down there. We stay in tent. Big tent. Big mob people. Drive back, whole mob, big truck. Go back community.

That other place, down there, name […], that good hunting place. Big mob emu there.

A little way along, I see a windsock and a small shed. We are still a long way out from town, way before the next station, with no other buildings in sight. I’ve driven this road a few times and don’t know of a community here, so I ask:

What’s this place? Is there a station here?

Mum says, here? Plane come.

I try again: What’s the name, the name of this place?

Receive a look of scornful bemusement:


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Ebb & flow

I've not lived somewhere where everyone is conscious of the moon before.

It's partly because of Staircase, partly tidal, partly just living in a small community where everyone goes fishing. And perhaps just a willingness to pay attention, to engage with the world.

The moon is a bit of an ogre in medical circles. Working in ED, a full moon is always commented on - "it's going to be a busy one" - an excuse for lunacy and mayhem. There's even been studies, but no correlation proven.

Without causality, though, there's still a tidal nature to work up here.

An empty ward, and a quiet afternoon.
A call to resus.
A chance to catch up on paperwork.
An emergency transfer on the day my colleagues finish up.
A wander in the market.
An angry teenager and a dying child.
A teaching session.
The call from dinner to delivery suite.
Sunset with feet in the Indian Ocean.

Frantic, and then quiet. The tides rushes in and then slips away. The full moon hovers, and wanes. Lunacy and mayhem, then stillness and reflection.

We are at the mercy of the tides.