Monday, May 17, 2004

From the Portuguese

I am eating papaya from our
northern garden. Military aircraft
keep coming in to land. War games -
such an oxymoron. The
planes fly out again
immediately they have been un-
loaded. I have put what's left of
the fruit away on the bottom shelf
of the refrigerator. We went north
for the weekend. When I took
the cat to the boarding kennels
the Showground was full of army tents
& surface transport. Helicopters lined up
at the airport across the road. On
the highway north we passed by tanks
on low-loaders, tankers of aviation fuel,
all parked outside petrol stations. But still
an easy run. So too the drive south,
just over 600 kilometres covered in
just under seven hours. The daughter of our
northern neighbour left thirty minutes
after us, spent ten hours doing the same
journey, trapped behind a convoy
for the last half of it. I eat some more
papaya, watch another plane, ponder the
etymology of bivouac & camouflage. Wonder
if French is the language of war as well as
of love. The papaya came home with us
seemingly unaffected by it all. Its name
comes from the Portuguese. They
are probably a peace-loving people.

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