Monday, August 30, 2010


I didn't know where my Sunday walk would take me this morning.  My feet led me down to the river just a kilometre away and across the Goodwill Bridge to the old botanical gardens - a wonderful green space in the heart of the city.  Some of the trees are over 100 years old.

From there I went on to the city centre where I lunched on Mediterranean vegetables, pesto and rocket on toasted ciabatta, while reading the new book I bought on the way - The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.  Tears came to my eyes as I read the first story.  It was about a woman whose balance system had been almost completely (and seemingly permanently) destroyed by the antibiotic gentamicin.  Her life was hell.  With the use of a device, her brain learnt to use new pathways and her balance was restored.

I grabbed a strawberry icecream as I left the food court and headed down to the nearby Roma Street Parklands, another large green area in the city.  As I sat down to write the haiku that had formed in my mind while walking, I looked around.  In the distance, children were playing happily with big balls and the nearby restaurant was full of noisy diners.  But sitting opposite me was a man angrily barking into his mobile about money, investments, tax.  He ended his conversation with "Well, what time do you open on Monday morning?"  It felt incongruous in such a relaxed scene.


Cement wall
fern roots taking hold
in the moss


City park
bamboo grove
another world


Green sedges
in the lake's shallows
white ibis


Peeling paperbark
its weeping branches hang low
over the water


From under the bridge
pathway opening onto
beds of bright flowers


The young man running
to greet his waiting lover
carrying flowers


Walking through fern gully - cool with tall trees over birdsnest, elkhorn and tree ferns - a stranger spoke to me as I past.  She just had to share the joy she felt in this beautiful place that had been rescued from the detritus of the city.

I went back across the river via Kurilpa Bridge and along the boardwalk past the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the State Library to Southbank.


By the river
city traffic droning close
blue fairy wrens


At the Southbank Markets, I bought a large lemon juice (real lemons) and, I hate to admit it, a chocolate coated frozen banana.  I settled down onto the cement steps of Suncorp Piazza to read some more of my book while waiting for a free concert - 1000 Gongs - to start.

Writing about stroke rehabilitation, the author said: "Traditional rehabilitation exercises typically ended after a few weeks, when a patient stopped improving ..." But it could be argued that "these learning plateaus were temporary - part of a plasticity-based learning cycle - in which stages of learning are followed by periods of consolidation.  Though there was no apparent progress in the consolidation stage, biological changes were happening internally, as new skills became more automatic and refined."  Again, I was moved to tears.

When the gong concert started, I closed my eyes and just let the sounds flow in.  I went into a trance-like meditation.  On the home stretch, I stopped at the lolly shop.  They were playing music from the 1960s and I couldn't resist dancing along.  How quickly and seamlessly I changed from buddha to bopper.  The shop owner reminisced about past innocent times spent dancing at Cloudland in the 1960s in a drug and alcohol free environment.  He used that hackneyed phrase "Kids these days ...", but I silently thought "Weren't your parents saying the same thing about you back then?"

Then, after 7km and several hours, I returned home to a nice hot bath.  Ah, city life ain't all bad.

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As I walk by the river or sit in my tiny garden, not thinking of anything in particular, thoughts sometimes seep into my brain. If you'd like to read my seepage, here it is ...