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Storytime

A parable is a fictious story that is ‘cast beside’ (literally) a true story, in order to achieve a particular outcome. Sometimes to keep certain people out. Sometimes to ennoble a truth so that it can be better appreciated. Sometimes to function as a safe gateway for the genuine seeker to make further enquiry. George…

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Brothers in arms

There are many things to take into consideration when offering a handshake. The angle of engagement, the firmness of the grip, the number of fingers to commit, the exact place to press the thumb on the back of the other person’s hand, the number of vertical movements to perform, the length of the hold, the…

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Endless Variations

Toward the end of the eighteen century, when Mozart was about twenty-five, he wrote twelve variations on a tune that we know as “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”. Variations are musical twists and turns on a basic tune, keeping always connected to the theme, but creating a rearrangement in double-time, or right-hand arpeggios, left-hand arpeggios, etc….

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The Resurrection of the body

Last week I saw my first moneybox in an antiques shop at the Blue Mountains. It was one of those metal ones issued by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. I remember the day I proudly took it to the bank as a boy, heavy with pennies. I remember bringing back home an updated version, with…

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Ok Campers. Rise and Shine!

I hadn’t seen it for more than twenty years. Groundhog Day. That rom-com built on the idea of a man stuck in the seemingly endless loop of a repetitive day. But my kids and I enjoyed it the other night, and I got to see it through eyes that now had twenty more years on…

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Free Solo

I don’t think I’ve ever held my breath for so long. Three hours and 56 minutes. The length of time Alex Honnold climbed from the base of El Capitan to its summit, solo, without a rope. El Capitan is the magnificent cloud-kissing marble boulder that rises in the midst of the Yosemite National Park, and…

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The Galilean Rider

Banjo Paterson’s famous poem, The Man from Snowy River, which is celebrated on the obverse of the Australian ten dollar note, just cost me 50 dollars. One of my sons rose to the challenge of reciting it from memory, all 104 lines, word perfect. He delivered, and I paid up. Actually I was glad that…

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A man like me

I think I must have been struck by lightning as a boy. Maybe around Year 2 or 3 at school, at the very time when the lesson for the day was the spelling of numbers, and just at the moment when we were working through the orderlies. I can pick the precise moment of the…

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Sweat, blood and tears

It takes some years to understand the way that adults talk. My mother, on those occasions when as a boy I pointed out that she was sweating, would announce, with aplomb, “Horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glow.” I thought she was speaking biological truth, until I was older, and realized her eloquent layer of…

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A Sword Reforged

In one of Tolkien’s tales, ‘The Children of Húrin’, a sword of one of those children is taken by some clever smiths to be reforged. In Tolkien’s tales, everything has a name, even the swords, and this one, once known as Anglachel, is reworked to become Gurthang, “Iron of Death”. And its blade is strong…

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