Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Last words on Alpha

Alpha is a town that has it's doubt, but it keeps them 'close to the chest'.

The houses here stand far apart... and silent. From brilliant blue, a powerful sun blasts down, baking the hardy weed-patched red soil of their yards. Gusts of wind play havoc with dust, dirt and leaves whirling through the gray galvanised wire yard fences that seem redundant here. Nothing holds back the dust which infiltrates everything.

There must be people behind those closed doors. Stiffly sun baked towels like colourful planks and tshirts and socks that look and feel like cardboard cutouts decorate the clotheslines. They all disappear sometime through the day, prised off the hot as hell metal lines .

Unwashed cars laze under tall leafy trees or dingey carports, recharging their batteries. Occasionally I would see a car travelling on one of Alpha's main roads. Some of these empty roads are as wide as four lane freeways.

A considerable number of the locals seem to be itinerant workers. They come and go and are forgotten. Some are teachers, like my son Ben whom I had come to visit. He is doing his 'Country Service'.

Ben takes me on a tour of notable landmarks in Alpha. It takes us half an hour. He has been here long enough now to have developed friendships and a sense of community with the locals. He has been out with 'the boys' who play hard capturing wild pigs, riding horses, shooting rifles and the like.

I visit the tourist information centre where volunteer Nola points out the marks on the building which show the heights to which three separate floods had inundated the town. She shows me a shed which houses a small collection of dusty cobwebbed museum worthy objects. Maybe one day, someone will clean them up and arrange them in some kind of display.

It's good to be home in Bundaberg tonight.







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