Des O'Neill | October 6, 2017
It was not so much the basking sun he felt, as he stood there with his Stop/Go sign. It was the impatient glare of drivers, needling his mind, that radiated the heat within him, as he dared to pause their journey on this section of tourist road. A section that had to be repaired fast, and finished today.
His CB radio came to life.”Okay Dave, let em through. Fifteen minutes only, then stop them, right. How are you holding up, first day is always hard, doesn’t get any better either I’m afraid, monies’ good though.”
“Got that Jim, sending them your way now. Will stop them at eleven forty five, fifteen minutes, wow, there is a long line.”
“Don’t let the waiting traffic get to you, we are doing a kilometre of work in one hit, that means long delays. Fifteen minutes off tourists day isn’t going to kill anyone, but if we don’t get this road fixed today, it could.”
“Holding up fine so far, gets a bit boring. Am I allowed to use my mobile while on the job?”
“Yeah mate, just keep it discreet if the bosses come round, reception is good here. Just keep your eye on the time, that’s the important thing.”
“Will do. Thanks Jim.”
Dave stepped back in relaxation as the stream of traffic snailed its way by. The vent up frustration of aggressive motorist attitude; temporarily released. He faced the wall of bushland that bordered both sides of the road. The reverie of trees, nature and birds attracted his attention to his favorite past-time; birdwatching, and the other person that has moved into his life that shares his hobby.
He located his mobile in one of the various pockets of the supplied Traffic Control uniform. Time for a quick message to his new love.
‘Hi Marie, how’s your day, just admiring the bushland here while working.’
The reply came, ‘Hi Dave, how is the new job going, hope your liking it.’
‘Yes, keeps me honest and outdoors, beats sitting behind a desk all day.’
‘Oh, so there is something wrong with sitting behind a desk,hmmm?’
Just then he heard the call from the bush; “Quarreek-Quarrik,” ring out above the sound of traffic noise. He had heard that call before, but just could not place it. The call continued, loud, and it sounded like; “Walk to work.”
Mobile cumminication now seemed not so important.
‘Have to go Babe, catch you later.’
Time also called him to duty.He loaded the Stop order at the next available motorist with his most stern look of authority.
“Righto Jim, holding them up again this end, send them through.”
“Good Dave,they should be coming through in one point five minutes, otherwise they are speeding.”
Again he shied away from the defient glares of the impatient motorists.
“Yes,” he announced to nobody, “A Pitta bird, a Noisy Pitta bird, that’s who you are.”
He immersed himself with observing the birds movements, and then there was two, a partner, he beamed to himself. I must tell Marie. So out came the phone.
‘Hi, I am watching a pair of Pitta birds.’
‘Hi, lucky you.’
‘Yes, you know about the Pitta’s, they mate together for life and do everything in pairs, equally, I like that.’ His excitement told with a rush of words.
‘Nice busy here talk later sorry work!’
The reply cut into his excitement like a child dropping an icecream.
He turned an angry glare at the drivers as he checked the time, seven minutes to go.
The birds offered him a sanctury of relief as he saw they were building a nest somewhere. Each would collect a single leaf or stick then off they go, so patient and singing loudly as they went. There is no rush there he thought, checking the time.
“Quarreek-Quarrik,” resounded through the trees, “Walk to Work”
“You there Dave, holding them up here, look for the blue HiAce, then let them through.”
“Yep Jim, righto, how are they doing with the road, do you know?”
“Making good progress, rushing it, you know, all about time. Probably will have to redo it again in a few months time after the big rains, if we get them.”
“Right, letting them through now. Must go find a tree.”
There down low from canopy hide,
Noisy Pitta birds, their highway ride.
A song so sweet a “Quarreeek Quarrik”
Happy in pairs they “Walkto Work”
Their nest, birds like mice, so meek.
He retreated back to man’s own ground,
To tarmac and car roar the tourist sound.