We left St Helens and moved west for Launceston, reversing our path along the road so recently travelled. My possessiveness over personal space was being tested while I journeyed with others, the lesson that I could not simply have everything my way continually arose, this childish inner voice on the verge of tantrum with wordless desires of perfection and harmony, MY perfection and harmony, were almost a daily activity and I regularly battled with my impatience.
Justyna’s methods of activity were slow, her tasks in the van would be done, and done with a high quality but through my infuriation were not done in a perceived logical fashion or an efficiency of time. Like the water bursting upon a rock shoreline we clashed not only in action but in speech also, the mind exploding in confusion as I tried to understand and get around what she was trying to say to me, often a simple request or statement would result in a long story – and as some of you may have experienced with my personality – is that I prefer a succinct exchange – more frustration.
I felt like such an ass in my fury.
Without it however I would not have the opportunity to discover this rage inside me, the anger that I felt was from trying to look at the people in the world in deep comparison to myself, it was like I wore glasses that instantly measured up another to my inner qualities, through anger I could not see that another was unique, and in this lack of vision I became more angry. Some words that Julian mentioned the week prior rang forth and a lightbulb appeared above my head, the filament getting brighter and brighter, illuminating a realisation in myself and others, the switch at the end of the finger, these five words.
Anger = a lack of understanding
We found orchard work in Launceston and both had the opportunity to not always be around each other, I gained perspective during our work day and I began to understand her more each day. As understanding increased, anger decreased. A time came where she sat with me as I investigated the root of the anger within, she was by my side as tears flew on realisation, a release, a healing.
Things were peaceful after that, there was an awareness of each other’s persona and we could operate without tiptoeing. I also assume that the heavy physical labour allowed me to get over myself and not pay so much stock to my moods and thoughts, these realisations for me are the first steps to being aware of the seasonal inner workings, to let the constant awareness shine through in loving kindness instead of being swayed back and forth like an emotive pendulum.
Anger is a lack of understanding, this mantra applied can dissolve the fury within. How could I possibly know what another is going through, what another is thinking. If I do not embrace uncertainty the mind would want to fill in the gaps, assumption and expectation ensue and this mind compares what it knows through the senses with its self image and values – when the other does not live up to this comparison the mind is frustrated and there goes anger again.
When the situation is explained or I realise what the other is going through anger dissipates, it drops from my being like a hole cut in the bottom of a bag of sand, flowing out of me as understanding grows. I make a trigger – “If I am angry there is something in the other, some suffering they are going through that I know nothing about.” I work with this and brick by brick I disassemble my own wall.
The work – it was my first time in farm labour since starting my journey, how on earth did I last a year travelling with such a small amount of income under my belt? Justyna and I found a grape harvesting contact before we hit Launceston and spent three days snipping bulbous bunches of blue berries from countless vines and hauling countless buckets of bounty to countless bins to be processed and fermented and bottled and poured and sipped by someone, somewhere. By day three my muscles ached, my clothes were stained blue and pungent with the aroma of fermenting grapes, the van was amess with the disorganisation of little time and sleep between working hours. We returned to our campground on Friday night after washing off the dirt in a free hot shower (bliss) over the other side of town. Settling in we found that we received no SMS for work the next day, in fact, no work on the weekend entirely – secretly I was overjoyed but sided with Justyna with her desire to earn money.
We decided to look around for other work.
Saturday morning and I was in the van writing when Nick a young German guy called by, he and his friend Flo were broken down on the other side of the reserve and needed a push back up the hill. We bought the van around and towed them back to their camp. They were grateful of the help and gave us coffee – the real reward however was when they told us about the work they were doing. We got the farmer’s number and agreed upon a week starting Monday at a blueberry farm.
I laboured, I dug holes, wound nets, assembled boxes, dug holes, staked seedlings, dug holes and ate blueberries – after a week I was exhausted but content, most of the day I hung out with Attila who was another happy soul engaging me in conversation while Justyna worked with his partner Kat, in the nursery. The two of them were also van travellers who recently adopted a beautiful grey kitten named Shadow, this feline was relatively free to roam around the van in a harness and long leash – my first exposure to a travelling cat, ah to have such a companion on the road!
With Nick and Flo we numbered six and were a working family, we camped in the same area and worked on the same farm – it was a real feeling of safety, the social group that was once just myself and Justyna was now expanded and we looked after each other. Through the physically demanding work I found a joy being with these guys, there were always smiles and cheerful banter. Saturday came however and we shared long goodbyes before heading south to Hobart, here Justyna and I would part and I would spend the last week in Tasmania solo.