I felt some true connection today. It was simple and immediate, completely authentic. Jack was a young Indigenous boy living in a remote community. He and his sidekick Max told me of their adventures. They told me of a simple life filled with a little school and a lot of play. They had the ‘jungle’, a herd of beasts to roam with, and one simple rule, ‘be home by dark’.
I have called this connection because in the half hour I spent with these boys I was part of the gang. I got the goss on which building were the ones to climb on, which dogs were the cheeky ones who’ll give you a nip. There was no complication, no fear of strangers, just a drive for a simple relationship built around play and aided by imagination.
I’m not sure what it was about them, or what it was about me, that enabled the connection. Perhaps the location, if not for the health workers visiting once a week few would see this patch of a half dozen houses on the side of the highway. Perhaps it was a loneliness, in their age bracket they seemed to be the bulk of the cohort and so anyone new to play with is good. Perhaps it was me, I’m a sucker for kids and the chance to go roaming around town with a few boys is pretty up there. Whatever it was the effect was stark, they wrapped arms around me like only best mates do.
I don’t wish to complicate this reflection by looking into the why’s and how’s too much, it would be a travesty to piece apart something so organic. I waved goodbye to Jack and Max, Batman and Robin as it were, and was struck by the realisation that I would never see them again. The profound part of this situation was the complete acceptance of this from both sides. As simply and immediately as it began, it was over. While I was there, the gang was three. Without me the adventure would continue, these boys embodied the ‘eyes forward’ approach I try to live by.
I was reminded to live in the moment. Accept those around you into your adventures. Don’t shed a tear at the end, smile at what was. Eyes forward always.