Saturday was a day like no other. I had things to do but I didn’t quite know how or when to do them.
It was the day of the AFL grand final. A day in which I would normally have been up and about early and a day in which I would have been making my way into the MCG as a 2020 Richmond Football Club member.
But it is the year of 2020, and nothing is normal.
And so the day passed in this ethereal like limbo of not quite knowing what to do next. I pottered around my studio, bought coffee and sourdough bread and tidied the kitchen and went to the supermarket, tidied the kitchen again and went back to my studio.
I thought about tidying up the dining room table, back at home. It’s strewn with a mountain of fabric and half finished assemblages. I thought about opening old superannuation letters. Theres quite a few of them lolling about my desk.
I thought about having a rest, or reading the paper or having a picnic, or, maybe a haircut?
I thought about ironing… the sheets.
Then I thought, perhaps I should go for a walk. And, so for the first time in months I headed out beyond my bubble and up into the foothills of the Dandenong’s.
After clearing the Covid checkpoint, I parked and headed up towards my regular walking track. How good was it to escape suburbia? So good. A misty greyness hung about, there was mud, there were puddles and there were very few people. The steep inclines, the loose gravel and rockiness underfoot forced me to concentrate.
I was able to think. I was able to wonder.
The path took me on a solid rise up to One Tree Hill. Then it meandered gently downwards, and around through the bush. I passed a couple who give me a cheery wave. He had his Tigers cap on. I had my Tiger mask on. It was like we knew each other.
Then the meandering path turned and rose. It was steep, sharp and gruelling. Chandler’s Hill, half way, half time, and a physical challenge. I just wanted to lay down.
I thought the Tigers could win the game that was to be played out in only a few hours time up at the Gabba in Brisbane. I knew the boys needed that collective ability to focus, to run and to play in harmony with each other. I knew that in the face of a challenge, the option of laying down could not be entertained. That was all I knew to be certain, though.
Hands on hips, I pushed ahead, to the top of the hill. Vibrant yellow buds of Spanish Broom waved about me in the breeze as I tried to catch my breath.
It was cold, but I was hot, really hot.
Run, boys run. Sing, Dusty sing.
My thoughts became short and sharp as I entered the final few kilometres downhill to the parked car. I ran into the cheery couple again as we contemplated crossing a large puddle that sat between us. We chatted for a bit. They were heading home to watch the game in their lounge room , as was I.
Rain began to fall as I placed one foot in front of the other. Heavy rain… it streamed into my face soaking my clothes to the skin, but I kept my focus despite my phones constant pinging away in my pocket.
“28mm at the Gabba in the last hour, Kate”, I read later in a text from my brother. “And another system developing about 400km away, you might be alright though”.
I rang him back on my drive home.
” Thanks for the update Tom, and yes, something does tell me the Tigers will be alright… the boys will run and Dusty will sing.”