Hopes for the next decade

On the last day, of the first decade, of the new millennium.

On special days like this, we don’t have to look far to see that generations past have pondered the balance between what has been, and what can be: maybe as a means of explaining what is; or as a reminder of the keen edge of the present.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In Roman mythology, Janus (or Ianus) was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings and endings. His most prominent remnant in modern culture is his namesake, the month of January, which begins the new year. He is most often depicted as having two faces or heads, facing in opposite directions.

Corellas, signalling nightfall and a full moon above the Murray gives way to a dawn chorus and a morning, stretching, ready: on the last day of the decade.  River redgum ride on dusty banks; bikes silent as the river rolls on downstream.  Early morning joggers and walkers, and houseboats backed into the bank, littered with the drinks and detritus of a long night.

There is such history here along the river.  To think of the miles just traversed at 100 km per hour in air conditioned car, and imagine the difference from poking along behind a few thousand sheep, working the long paddock: mutton for the miners, or, against the flow, and upward reach to the heartland of the big sheep spreads.

In Ballarat tonight, bushfire smoke borne on the wings of a saving rain underscores the rapidity of the cycle of possibility.  What began as a ball of black smoke, sinister in the South, ends with the gathering storm, and the drenching rain.

We are, at every point in time, poised precariously between our past; and our future.

It is the last day of the first decade of the new millennium: a long way from the Y2K virus and the spectre of tumbling aeroplanes and crashed systems.

The Bendigo Art Gallery was showing, amongst other things, McCubbin on loan.  The Pioneers. The delight of the triptych, captured, yet again, this theme of passage.  There are the beginnings, the  doubt and questions, followed by the building of home and family and the movement onward to a point where all of this is memory against a backdrop of change and development.

Bendigo: Formerly Sandhurst: pictures of past, with recognisable features of the present.

This first decade of the new millennium has been a decade of accommodations and adjustments: sometimes grudgingly acknowledging special needs and a universality of need for equity.  This has been a great outcome.

We need now, to move beyond this and to really challenge our dominant paradigms. We need , in education, to now look at the accommodations and adjustments needed to meet the needs of a broader spectrum of learners at this point in time. We need to move seriously from ‘school planning’ to ‘planning school.’

And yet, in an aside, it is possible to find a challenge in a simple cafe experience in Daylesford.

Musing on a young woman with dog: sitting outside the cafe. (New Year’s Eve, 2009)

Daylesford Dachsund snapping at flies


a chic tattoo

thumbing its nose at the inevitability of time.

Now, like the grapevines above: young and ready to burst forward with lush fruit but,

in time, will too


There are challenges and rewards looming in the new year.  We have hit double figures: and what a growing up it’s been.

Where were you ten years ago at the turn of the millennium?  And what has happened in between?

Let’s make the next ten a decade of commitment to the big questions:

‘what do we all need to agree upon as human beings to sustain ourselves?’

Have a great new year!

From the end of the breakwater

The views and angles from the end of the breakwater are amazing.  Straight nobbysbreakwateracross, to the wrecks encased within the breakwall on the Stockton side of the channel, and on to the pines standing tall on the way to Fern Bay.

Kooragang works reminds us of smokestacks past, while the prehensile limbs of loaders pump the black coal into the ready holds of red and black colliers.  They sit lower and lower in the water until they are hustled, prodded and pushed: then steaming outward away from the tugs’ insistent coddling.

Grain elevators dwarf juice containers. Bullock Island: a destination for farmers frustrated by rail strikes, trucking their own wheat to the dockside.

Beyond Muloobinba, the floating dock, the harbour becomes a mix of fishing fleet and pleasure marina: overshadowed by the opulence of fast ocean ketch, ‘Squall’ high on the slips.

We pause in our bike ride, looking back across the remains of Nobbys, trying to imagine what it looked like before they lopped the top off.  The dunes have shifted, and there are old trail tracks exposed in the sand.  All around are both memories and fresh hope.

The wind will be at our backs as we ride up Throsby Creek. Just as well, as it’s already very warm.