Sunday, November 09, 2014

[Story] I name you Bronze-wing

This morning I walked along the tracks through Aussie bush not far from our house. 

There are all sorts of creatures living there and I love to stop and see if I can spot whatever it is that is creating rustling noises not far from the track. There are goannas, snakes, birds, lizards, echidnas (though I have never had the luck to see one of those), and the occasional wallaby.

Today, there was a rather large bird pecking about near the dry creek. I could not identify it - a stranger.

As I walked back that way, two of them flew up and into the trees not far away. I was lucky to meet a man and his wife just then. They identified the birds as bronze-wing pigeons. Beautiful people, those people, friendly and kind. The birds are rather dull-coloured, though apparently if the sun shines on the bronze, it is beautiful. To me it was a beautiful experience, though - bringing back absolutely beautiful memories, and the feeling of something clicking into place.

When I was a little girl, growing up in the country, there was a young man - a "bit of a character" - who had a perfectly chosen nick-name for everyone in the district. Mine ... because of my own name, Bronwyn, was "bronze-wing". He was a bit of larrikin, but well-liked, and occasionally, my family would refer to me as bronze-wing, or remind me that that was the name Lennie had given me, always with humorous respect for him and with tender love for me.

I don't remember ever meeting or being shown a bronze-wing pigeon then or since - until today. It was just Lennie's lovely nick-name, and it brings back memories of those days - images, scents, sounds, and the pervading feeling of love. Click!


Bronze-wing : Part 2

Lennie, the larrikin.  Lennie the name-giver.

I think life was painful for Lennie.  

He did have a wonderful sense of humour, possibly it could be called a wicked sense of humour.  

I guess he could have been seen as wicked.  When we went back 10 years or so ago to the centenary of the primary school he and I attended, there were the records of the canings he was given - almost daily.  I don't remember what misdemeanors he committed - possibly swearing ..., but he probably made life difficult for the teachers.

I suspect he saw no relevance in school, or its operations.

He loved his car, I remember.  It burbled - certainly a V8.  I remember him arriving at a rodeo, driving slowly behind the cars parked around the rodeo ring, looking for a pace to stop, and creating a jaunty little change to the burble of his car as he passed, as a way of saying "hello".

He grew up on a farm as we all did, but obviously had no desire to stay there.  He drove school buses for a while and then became a long distance truckie.  It must have a been a huge worry for his wife.  He was a diabetic, but rebelled against the stringent diet and exercise restrictions.

He was a person who questioned life and expressed his views with that special witty humour. Everyone  in that community, as far as I know, appreciated his wit.  He did have a sense of humour and there was often a twinkle in his eye, though also often a grimace.  I know he had the knack, whenever he saw me, of communicating both a question as to the most basic of my assumptions about myself and what I was doing, and, simultaneously, a feeling of love, respect and fellowship.

Funny.  Clever.  Different.  Irreverent.  Insightful.


Today I have just read that the autopsy performed on Robin Williams showed no traces of drugs or alcohol.  The final indignity.  

But this, too, was a man who was funny, clever, different, irreverent, insightful and with that same communication of love, respect and fellowship.

R.I.P. Robin Williams.

R.I.P. Lenny ...

and thank you for my totem, "Bronze-wing". 

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