As a first-time soldier thrusting his face forward took flight the new pilot into a valley of unknown unaware of all the volleys the number of pelting shots unabashedly facing the void with nothing to lose, all to gain unseeing unknown forces at work missing every torrential outburst shot forward, heeding his captain right into the waiting arms of fate went bravely through pouring rains
During the one month that I’ve lived in Canberra, and for many before I moved, I’ve watched—with growing envy—the city’s locals share glorious pictures of the National Arboretum.
On photos it seemed such a vast area of green nothingness brimming with so much liveliness. Trees smothered brown and yellow during sunsets, mist hanging over unknown mountains, sneaky sunrises playing games of colour in the sky—every picture piqued my curiosity and intensified my urge to be there, live it, and relive it.
Except, I found out soon, the National Arboretum is unreachable by public transport. Although, somewhere in my subconsciousness, I knew I couldn’t just take the bus up there—the many jaw-drop moments I’d seen in photos revealed towering altitudes. Still, it came as a disappointment.
But rejection only makes us want something even more. And when we do get it, at last, we’ll savour it for the rest of our lives.
I will, the Arboretum.
Thanks to a bored brother and a good friend’s decent car, we cruised uphill with my eyes open bright and soul screaming wide. As we went higher and higher, I felt lighter. Trees have that impact on me.
When we stopped and stepped out, I grabbed my jacket to shield myself from the icy breeze. It was the first day of winter and though the sun shone bright, coldness pressed against my skin, tingling my t-shirt, and teasing my boldness to go thermal-less. It wasn’t nail biting, but just enough for me to appreciate the weather without developing a raging hatred towards winter. Nature knows how much to offer and when.
While the cold remained subtle, the views were more pronounced. As far as my eye could reach, I saw nothing but trees—steps upon steps of luscious greenery that refuse to die even in winter. From way above, I was looking down at massive branches appearing to be nothing more than bushes. Ah, Bush Capital indeed.
Amidst the sea of wood, I spotted, like deer in a jungle, benches and footpaths inviting humans to stray away from their handphones and into the amassing wilderness ahead. It wasn’t just a remedy for screen eyes, but rather an invitation to experience the vision of this great green city. With neat guidelines, pathways, and dedicated clearings to enjoy the view from, the Arboretum is the ideal environment for people to take a moment alone with nature without contaminating it with their innate humaneness.
As we walked down the path—a path—we came by a large row of pine trees extending to a forest behind them. While the sun prepared to step back for the day, a faint glow erupted from within and beyond the forest, emitting a clarion call for the crazy.
We heard it and heeded it. It’s enchanting to walk into a forest that’s both dense and airy at the same time. It was light enough to see through the trees, but also mysterious and unmoving. The deeper we went, the further we wanted to go. Pine trees always give each other enough space to grow and expand. Like the best of friends. And although they’re upright on a slope, they’re so well rooted that they don’t sway in threatening ways. We could walk quite far into the pine forest and still glimpse the last of the sunset through the branches.
Sitting idle at home two days later, I realised the Arboretum is more than a collection of trees in natural habitat. It’s a trove of magical views, mystic thoughts, and ground breaking moments—a much endearing, must visit.
In that town of men there lived this boy slim and pale though worthy of Yale he was nice to everyone family though he had none walked his dog all arvo a black spaniel so bravo came from a slaughterhouse became more like a spouse bounding eagerly through the town bearing his name tag like a crown such was the dog’s devotion to the boy whose only motion was to share his milk and cookie in rearing though he was a rookie knew that two packs on supermarket haul was the secret to a life without a brawl the talk of town they remained for long the lovable guide dog and its blind boy
Like wine was our relationship those mellow tones at the beginning, deep and divine flavours soon evoking it could cut through all bitterness each sip unlike the one before left us both whining for more every day we cherished our prize drowning sorrows in sweet shiraz our conversations revolved around it giving expecting voices a chance to rise halfway through lightheaded we were having said too much already to take shoving pizza helped calm the nerves a temporary solution for aching insides like plaster made of oil and water only so good before it slides all over for unlike ever before we’d talked and what a shame to stop progress now past that intoxication point and so we plunged on, on and on draining the last of the fine wine inhaling like oxygen under water exhaling grape breaths of regret oh, those eight servings of wine gone without even lasting four laid out flaws in plain vain sight the gluttony, greed, hidden hatred ending the mighty fight for high all that remained, of wine, of us was a broken bottle and a slit wrist