The Gouldian Finch

Now we’re getting somewhere. Where, exactly? I dunno. Somewhere. Shoosh. Doesn’t matter. Who cares. Not the point. Point is, we’re rocketing forward into the next bit. We’re well past the lazy drifting summer days of yesteryear now. Barrelling along towards future which is in turn hurtling towards us at increasing velocity. You just have to listen to people in shops. “What happened to January?” “I’m still writing the date wrong” “I swear it was just Christmas”. Well it ain’t Christmas, baby. It’s business time. You’ve got things to do. Worries to be worried about. Concerns that are concerning. Work that needs to be worked.

Come over here though. Look. It’s a Gouldian finch. Teeny tiny little rainbow sparrow that looks like it has been grabbed by a toddler and dunked in a bunch of different tins of paint. Look at the little blighter! Finching away. Being Gouldian. Nature, in a miracle of science and an accident of history, has brought you (yes! You!) into a universe that contains the Gouldian finch - curious, friendly, covered in paint, fond of a peppy little finch dance by way of finding a mate. Go and look it up. The Gouldian finch is a ripper, and you get to share the universe with that. Onya. 

Let us pause for a moment, while I congratulate you for some other things. Don’t worry about the worrying. There’s always time to be worrying. Don’t you worry about that.

Some official congratulations. This is a Public Service Announcement. 

Congratulations on whatever it is you can make. Can you make music by folding one of those shiny leaves in half and stretching it and tooting through it? Can you make a sponge? Paper aeroplanes? A perfect circle? A woollen jumper? A really great cup of tea? Humans are great are making stuff. Once, at a pizza restaurant, I sat next to a group of kids and the pizza chef gave them each a bit of pizza dough to make into something. The kid next to me made the most amazing face out of pizza dough. Everyone gathered around. Pizza chef came over, carried it with great reverence and cooked it in the woodfire oven. Came out even better - dark, important eyebrows, pale face. People took photos. Maybe that kid will grow up and sit in a meeting and be worried about all his worrying worries and he will forget that he is a genius pizza face maker. Point is, humans make stuff. Congrats on making stuff.

Congratulations on those little moments you have where you’re truly by yourself. Out at the washing line or something, hearing the sounds from elsewhere. Nothing but you and the sky and silence descending upon the earth as the evening swallows up the day. Congratulations on those little moments. Those ones are important, somehow.

Congratulations on cicadas. I know you didn’t invent them, but if you grew up in Australia, they’re part of who you are. The flat quiet of a baked summer evening flamboyantly destroyed by a raucous cacophony of military style insects literally screaming tunelessly at full capacity. 

Also congratulations on living in a country that calls an insect like that a cicada, making it clinically impossible for any human from anywhere on earth to say the name of the insect without doing so in an Australian accent. 

Congratulations on the lyrics you know. You know the ones. Maybe they’re a daggy eighties ballad, or the words to your school song. Maybe - quite probably - it’s an ad for Spray n Wipe. You know something well enough to belt it out without any assistance. Good on your brain for never letting go. 

Congrats on getting this far. 

Congrats to you and the incidental people in your life. Being one of someone’s incidental people is super important. If the incidental people in your life - the people serving coffee or driving cabs or stepping out of the way on the train platform - are fun or kind or courteous or helpful, that is most of a day right there. Congratulations on being someone’s incidental assistant. Someone else in the role could have ruined a person’s whole day. 

Congrats on the moments gifted to you by the universe - the green light when you needed it, the train connecting with the bus.

Congrats on sometimes not being able to stop yourself from smiling. 

Well done for all of it. It’s great to have focus and onward momentum but sometimes it’s important to pay a moment’s attention to your proximity to the Gouldian finch. This has been a Public Service Announcement.


These posts are originally printed in The Big Issue. Go and buy the Big Issue when you can.