This morning started like so many others start. The dog sticks her wet, beardy face in mine and says "I'm up, so you should be up". Seriously. Authentic, legit. That's what she says.
I then drag my decaying carcass out of bed, taking note of all the new aches and pains, fumbling about (and sometimes falling over) as I try to get dressed quietly without waking the other inhabitants of the house (while still showing the correct amount of enthusiasm towards the slobbery tennis ball brought to me repeatedly by a very energetic Schnauzer named Schnitzel).
We then hop in the car and head to Victoria Park where there is an off-lead dog area where all sorts of various dogs with tennis ball of varying states of destruction, roam around and do their "doggy thing".
I suffer a mild state of naughtiness each morning on this three-block drive to the park, as I merely do not feel it necessary to place my licence on my person for such a short drive from home. If I get pulled over by the coppers, I can just say "oh, I left it at home. It's not far. Do you want to come in for a cuppa?"
Pffft. Waddayamean illegal. She'll be right mate.
This "driving with no licence thing" made me think back to the days when Nev was out with his mate learning to drive, by doing just that. Driving. Illegally. Him in the drivers seat, underage with no experience, and his mate napping in the back seat. When they saw a cop car they just swapped positions. It worked for them and probably, if we looked into it, many other Aussie kids from that era.
My sister and I learned to drive slightly differently. We lived on a hobby farm and we had an old tractor. We used this tractor for many things but our favourite was pulling out the gorse bushes. Gorse is a vicious bastard of a weed that grows quite big and is covered with nasty prickles. We tied a thick rope around the bottom of the bush, attached the other end to the tractor and literally pulled those suckers right out of the ground.
It was messy and painful but it appealed to our sense of achievement and destruction all at the same time. Good times.
Anyway, I digress. This morning at the dog park.
I walked along behind my mad, slobbering, ball-chasing companion and noted the smell of the gum trees, the mildly sad warble of the magpie family, the harsh "cark" of the crows, the golden grass and the rays of early sunlight bouncing off the leaves of the silver birch trees around the lake. It was all a bit peaceful and very, very beautiful.
Schnitzel had her tail up and wagging so I could tell she was happy. My family were all still tucked in bed asleep (half their luck) so I knew they were happy, and I was overcome with a sense of all the good in my little world.
"Straya" I love you! I love the freedom of living here and the freedom of living our lives to the best of our capabilities. Yes, as a country we have a bit of a dark, murky past that most people feel some degree of shame over, but this here and now is what we should be celebrating.
Life. Freedom. Naughty Licenceless Driving.