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Owen L Boyd
Owen L Boyd
Lindsay Boyd is a writer, personal carer and traveller originally from Melbourne, Australia. He has visited more than sixty countries and lived and worked in a number of them. As a writer he is principally a novelist though he also writes shorter pieces, fiction and non-fiction.
 

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The Scent of Acacia

Dec. 2, 2017 9:34 pm
Keywords: None

In years gone by it had not been uncommon for motorists travelling the stretch of highway to slam on their brakes at sight of Jack ambling along the shoulder. They would thunder to a stop, shift into reverse or make a three-point turn and draw level with the curious figure. Some gawped at the weather-beaten clothes and the grimy backpack. Others laughed out loud. A third group – foreign tourists for the most part – reached for cameras and in genteel accents inquired whether they might take his photograph framed against the hills. Mission accomplished, off they would go, regaining prodigious speeds and belching plumes of exhaust in the clear blue air.

He had taken to the existence in his mid-twenties, before the dawn of the new millennium. Eschewing office life in suburban Melbourne, he submitted his notice and left the city, inspired by the tales his grandmother liked to tell of her upbringing on a spread in northern Victoria. Her anecdotes touched on dishevelled individuals who appeared out of nowhere on the front verandah with an entreaty for food in exchange for work.

Growing up, Jack’s heart missed a beat whenever he contemplated their forceful independence. How quaint it appeared from the perspective of a modern era buttressed by speed and continual change, which allowed little room for the nonconformist. For a considerable time he made a point of sampling the richness of the wayfaring lifestyle by spending entire weekends trekking in cloistered parts of the countryside.

He reckoned it must have been a harsh mode, a hand-to-mouth existence, irrespective of the acuteness of one's bush sense. The history books he studied at school tended to romanticise the itinerants while looking down on them as foolhardy and rash. The men who embraced the life had more in common with the natives who inhabited Australia upon its colonisation. They no more deserved trust than did the black fellas.

In the initial years following his definitive break, Jack rarely left the settled areas far behind. He remained close enough to small country townships to hike there in the space of a few hours. Work came in dribs and drabs, at the behest of property owners willing to welcome him on a temporary basis. Once, a farmer offered him room and keep for three months. In time, Jack became cognisant of where to uncover work in the different seasons.

The rest of this story may be found at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/golddustmagazine (Winter 2017 issue)

The issue also contains a review of my soon to be published novel Marginal (Pen It Publications)

 
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