|Pete Townsend's 'Tommy' starring Roger Daltrey as Tommy.|
I'm also...still...in the middle of reading Hugh Mackay's excellent book, 'What Makes Us Tick?'.
I've never been a real big WHO fan, but I am a big fan of the movie 'Tommy', based on The Who's best selling album.
I wrote a post about nearly seeing Roger Daltrey perform the whole Tommy album at Bluesfest in 2012, but alas, that wasn't to be -
Who Are You?
And recently I wrote about seeing the 40th anniversary screening at the cinema in this post -
Happy Birthday Pete Townshend...Did Some Reader Out There Just Ask WHO?-)
But the thing about reading those three books I mention above, at the same time, is that as souls (or thinking beings, if you prefer a less mystical metaphor) being trapped in a meat suit, we are constantly wondering who we are and why we are here.
If not, then you should be.
|WHO would want to be a rock star?|
Are the Powerful Owls What They Seem?
In fact, they both write letters to their childhood selves in their books as a way of offering themselves some healing perspective on their traumatic childhoods.
|Childhood letter of Pete's to himself in 'Who I Am'.|
|Robert's letter to his childhood self in his book, 'Ugly'.|
|The word "beautiful"on the last page of Pete's book.|
|The word "beautiful" on the last page of Robert's book...twice.|
|From Robert's book 'Ugly'. A club we all think we belong in to a degree?|
My mother has told me often how an owl perched on her backyard clothesline the morning after my grandmother died and yet I have never seen an owl in the wild in my life in Brisbane, even though I know they exist in Brisbane.
Oddly enough, the first bit of sightseeing I did on my road-trip was to stop and have a look at an historic cemetery (Chinderah Cemetery) on the other side of the roadhouse just over the
Queensland/New South Wales border after I stopped to get petrol and a coffee.
The Chinderah Cemetery is on the top ten list of haunted sites in Australia
It was like a movie-set out of some B-grade horror movie, but I was fascinated reading each tombstone and the little story it told of people long past.
UPDATE: 30th May, 2016
I decided to look up the name of this cemetery after I had written this post, so I could link the name and location to this post in case anyone wanted to know where to find it.
I came across this news article from the Tweed Daily News titled -
Blackbirding a grave concern
"The little churchyard is really quaint, really old and really perfect for the setting of a ghost movie.
More importantly it tells a sad tale; a story of slavery, cruelty and hardship borne on the shoulders of a beautiful race of people, some as young as 12 years old.
"It's a truly sad story," said former Tweed Shire councillor Jennifer Pearson who was instrumental in passing a motion to construct a memorial at Chinderah to the workers.
The story of the Kanakas is a sad chapter in Australian history dating back to 1847.
"Blackbirded" from their homes in the Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides or brought to the country by deception, they were exploited as cheap labour in the sugar cane industry and on the cotton fields of Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
It was Australians who eventually rebelled against the employment of Kanakas, not out of human sympathy but fearing that the South Sea Islanders posed a threat to their standard of living.
Those "slaves" were starting to make it good and maybe a threat to their jobs.
Under the government's Indenture Scheme, the Kanakas had been brought to Australia against their wishes, then by an act passed in 1901 they were largely forcefully repatriated.
Some were permitted to stay on after 1906, the year fixed for their departure.
Many of these moved southward to the northern part of NSW, settling as free men and women on the Tweed River at Chinderah.
Hard workers and good farmers, they began growing their own sugar cane.
Some of them are buried in this smallest of cemeteries, their original burial place being part of an estate owned by the undertaker.
On his death his heirs sold the property, including the cemetery, to clear the land.
The headstones were hauled out of the ground with chains, many of the monuments being broken in the process.
The stones were then transferred to the small patch where they now stand.
The actual graves were left unidentified."
I don't remember reading anything about that in the cemetery.
And the weird thing was that on my road-trip blackbirds were always accompanying me on my journey and it is only in hindsight reading this now that my post on Corvids, which I have considered my spirit animals for a long while, makes even more eerie reading, as far as messages from beyond go -
On the Road with Corvids
I find walking through cemeteries and reading headstones very meditative and mysterious, as I contemplate my own living existence.
|The "land of the shadows"?|
This was because I realized of all the trees blocking out the sun making the graves appear to be in the land of shadows.
And oddly enough when I read Robert's chapter named 'Mary' about his mother, he mentions reading his mother's eulogy and the last line was,"Good-bye Mum. We'll see you again in the land where no shadows fall".
I read that part of Robert's book well after taking those photos above and the thought of the grave with the word "Mum" written on it and every other word on that grave hard to read I kind of saw it as a grave representing all mother's who have crossed over to the place where no shadows fall.
Not only that, but I now recall my walk through the rain-forest in Port Macquarie looking for the Powerful Owls, who I was told would be found in shadowy places in the rain-forest, if I really looked hard.
I didn't spot any physical owls on my road-trip, but every day on the road was a constant reminder of death, with heaps on road-kill on the sides of the highway, crosses marking where people had lost their lives in road accidents, my trip to the National War Museum in Canberra, the church of St.Thomas in Port Macquarie that was built over a grave of a dead British soldier, climbing to see the
Port Macquarie Obelisk on a spot that marks the drowning of two friends, hearing about the death of Prince the day after I climbed Australia's highest peak and then watching the ANZAC day parade in Ballina, before returning home.
I even took a wrong turn in the town of Armidale going straight through a roundabout and into a one-way road into the town's cemetery, which I never intended to visit.
I didn't have the time to get out for a wander, but I found it strange how the Catholics were in one part of the cemetery and Presbyterians in another and so forth with other religious groups.
I wondered if heaven was going to be like this, as well. ;-)
|The one-way street through the Armidale cemetery.|
|Looking out my car window in the Armidale cemetery.|
|The grave St.Thomas is built over in Port Macquarie.|
|ANZAC day parade in Ballina|
Which is why I like reading biographies and watching movies about the lives of other people like Pete Townshend and Robert Hoge.
It gives me a sense of connection to the world I grew up in and a chance to see it through another's eyes.
Like Hugh Mackay writes in his book,'What Makes Us Tick?'.
|My favourite chapter in Hugh Mackay's book,'What Makes Us Tick?'|
No but(t)s about it.
|Pete's dedication to all who read it, at the back of 'Who I Am'.|
|Robert Hoge running with the Olympic flame|