Mining the Idyllic

By | 3 December 2008

Coming off night shift I trudge a dusty path to transportable simulated comforts. With body clock out of sync and lungs dehydrated, I try to justify this fly-in/ fly-out location infested with hard hats and steel-toed boots. Toxic the camp cat tosses beer carton scraps into the air as though playing with bark on a forest floor. To grime-rimmed eyes sucked to sleeping quarters she is the only light-hearted thing in sight. Early morning heat slobbers across the bruised terrain, mine shafts overlay native grass, slag dumps fed by zinc ponds procreate. In the distance a train line searches for unbroken belts, spurs and tuff. I am too tired to notice the changing forms in a desolate mirage – the ghosts of dead miners looking for somewhere to haunt free from skimp dust, a place to swirl fallen leaves with ethereal breath. Old codger who cleans the lavatories leans on his mop, lights a cigarette, tries to hold me with yarns about the impossible –

          bullock

          timber

          shingled huts.

 


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