We had stopped for a nature break by a country road, when a local farmer drove up: “Wife’s got cattle on the road up ahead, you guys need anything?”
“A fresh batch of sausage rolls wouldn’t go astray” I said.
He grinned right across his sharply angled Norman Rockwell face: “Sorry no can do. You know years ago as a young bloke I worked this land for someone else. I never dreamed I would end up owning it myself. Kinda chokes me up how lucky I’ve been!”
We peddled hard downhill, just to maintain momentum, bloody headwinds. Things picked up as we crossed into the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Canberra, Australia’s National Capital.
The National Museum of Australia has an exciting exhibition of 140 years of Australian cycling, but we are a week early, so reluctantly and full of trepidation I trudge up ANZAC avenue to The Australian War Memorial.
Victorian Blue Eucalyptus line ANZAC Avenue, their long tapered leaves appear as teardrops. One tree bears the indigenous marks of a sacred place.
Artificial poppies line the Wall of Remembrance, creating a blood Red Sea.
Each day the glorious dead are born then die again for the thousands who attend in their memory, while the unknown solider plucked from his resting place in France, has once more been pressed into the service of his country.
I come away disturbed by the casual veneration of violence, how words like Heroism, Freedom and Sacrifice mask a much darker aspect of human nature.
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