Something felt different when Ironbark woke up that morning. The birds were sounding in a new day like they did every day, and still, there was something odd about them. They sounded livelier than usual. Maybe it was the oncoming storm, Ironbark thought as he looked through the opening between the curtains at the multi-coloured clouds billowing high in the sky.
“We had it coming, what, with all that abnormal humidity lately,” he mumbled as he went to sit on the edge of the bed.
At that very same moment a kookaburra burst raucously into laughter, as if it was mocking him. It gave Ironbark the clue he needed. Ah, that’s it, he said to himself. With their keen senses animals knew what was going to happen long before humans did. They must already be feeling the relief in the wake of the storm, Ironbark concluded. Still, it was strange, he thought, he had never noticed anything like this before in the 72 years he was alive.
Do you know those moments when nothing seems to go your way? When, no matter how hard you try, everything you do just doesn’t work out the way you want it to? Well, you can’t win ‘em all, can you?
“Don’t take it seriously, dad,” my eldest son said to me, when we were playing Monopoly along with my girlfriend a while ago. Every time my sons make remarks like that, I become alert. Sure, I knew he meant it literally, he was telling me not to be absorbed by the game. Still, this remark had a deeper meaning to it, and a few days later it dawned on me what he really meant. Whether or not he was aware of this, he meant that I could simply enjoy the game and our get-together.
Consider this for a moment. Our Earth is located in the solar system, which is located in the Milky Way, which is located in the Universe, which is located in the Cosmos. And then? What lies beyond the Cosmos? And where does that end? Hang on, where there’s an end there’s a beginning. Oh right, I can see it now: there are two little boys playing marbles in the backyard. One of their marbles is our Cosmos. The time needed for that one marble to bump into another marble is a few seconds. Speaking in terms of the boys’ planet, that is. Converted to Earth time: umpteen billion light years.
A very long time ago, in a galaxy millions of light years from here, there was a horse named Pegasus. Pegasus was no ordinary horse, he was a winged horse, and he had the ability to fly very high and very far. I say ‘ability’ because, even though his kind flew everywhere, even to the farthest corners of the Cosmos, he never flew much at all. You see, Pegasus was afraid of falling, and so he spent his days trotting and galloping a lot, and occasionally he would make short flights through the valley near his meadow. This was fine by him until he reached puberty.