City Visit

Part 1 of the Country Canine Companions Collection

Sporting her City Hat* Luna explored the streets of Melbourne Town.

 

Familiar noises at unfamiliar intensity that assaults my ears.

Hard ground everywhere.

No, not everywhere,

but it took so long to get to where it was

soft underfoot and smelt like the Earth.

 

Even though I’m off my lead now

and enjoying my runaround

I don’t stray far from Frauchen,

I keep running back to check that she’s following:

she reads this urban landscape in a way that I can’t,

despite my stopping at every clump of grass

(even single weeds that grow defiantly out of stone walls),

to read the messages in the foreign city smells

with my hypersensitive nose.

 

Even familiar things are odd here:

the birds don’t take fright and are no fun to chase,

and even though there are volumes more of the two-legged ones

they don’t stop to chat, and pat, and play

like they do at home.

 

I don’t understand that: what’s the point of sharing life

if time and companionship are not shared?

 

Once when I was at an empty street corner

and I moved forward to cross the road

Frauchen pulled me back.

Her comforting voice penetrated

the roar of smoggy exhausts.

She explained,

”These are traffic lights.

We don’t have them back home.

They tell the cars when to move

so even though it looks empty,

we have to wait.”

 

So much to process in this place

where the horizon goes up and is crowded

instead of being expansive and flat.

 

These city folk move to a different rhythm,

lots of individual players

moving simultaneously but not in the same timing,

creating a cacophony of noise

so different to the symphony of the country

that I’m used to.

 

*Aussie bushies traditionally have a well-worn Work Hat, for everyday rough work around the property, and a clean and intact Town Hat for their (few and far between, business) visits to the city. When their Work Hat becomes too worn to be wearable, or practical, their Town Hat becomes their Work Hat and a new only-for-best Town Hat is purchased.

In preparation for Luna’s city visit Frauchen purchased a retractable lead. Luna is accustomed to having S P A C E to run around in, not to mention chasing animals through the bush …

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