Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that from Sandy Bay to Kingston the coastal highway has been largely unnavigable for the past six months?
As the dust begins to settle, at least at the city end, it looks as if the road has been chewed and regurgitated by some kind of multi-headed Hydra.
Whatever the creature was I have it on authority that it actually lived, unchallenged, for six solid months on the roadside not far from Lower Sandy Bay.
Terrified local residents assured me that to exit onto the highway was to take their life in their hands once the alleged monster set up a windowless metal nest complete with ensuite porta loo. Which might have been its Waterloo because having spent springtime building what one must assume was the first stage of a fortress, it - I am not making this up - beheaded the wall!
Then after carefully recalibrating the height of its potential garrison, it added a few finishing flourishes before deserting its position entirely, leaving in its wake what is arguably Tasmania’s ugliest fortification.
Left forlorn in its grey torpor this abandoned rampart is said to howl at night for the touch of an urban graffiti artist.
In the interests of good taste, I shall say nothing about the sidewalks of Sandy Bay at peak tourist time beyond a few words of comfort to the businesses there: ‘Relax, it’s moving its slow thighs across the bay of sands…
Sure enough one can trace its droppings to just this side of the Shot Tower where it spent all the sweet brief weeks of summer uprooting a short stretch of pedestrian pathway with a metal barricade and replacing it with a short stretch of pedestrian pathway with a metal barricade, despite signs which clearly announced to taxpayers that a bike path was nigh.
The monster is moving implacably slouching towards Kingston to be born* - having cunningly resumed its daytime disguise as a hard working road crew. But with a face as blank and pitiless as the sun and quite without warning it lurched back past the Shot Tower and uprooted the new metal barricade, thus eviscerating much of the new-laid pathway to - you guessed it - recalibrate!
Look, we all make mistakes. Let us just ignore the evidence suggesting that the line painter was hallucinating. Sometimes even the finest seamstress must resort to a stich unpicker.
But picture an unpicker that spans the combined length of two semi-trailers. Such was the weapon employed at the scene of last week’s carnage. Which finally got me thinking: build a wall to decapitate it? Erect a barricade and pathway just to uproot it?
This is not road work such as I have witnessed anywhere else on earth; so either someone has declared a state of anarchy in the department of works or we need warning signs if not outright protection from what might well be an advancing alien:
“Caution: road eating monster loose in Tasmania.
Last seen wandering vaguely down the Channel Highway.
Can be unpredictable
Reward if returned to owner”
But therein lies a mystery. Who owns such a creature? Surely the state government knows what it is doing! It wouldn’t throw away millions of dollars ravaging what locals now refer to as ‘Flustercluck Highway’ when so much crucial infrastructure is in desperate need of funding…
Or would it ?
*with due acknowledgment to W B Yeats for modulated extracts from his poem ‘The Second Coming’. Not that I am suggesting the anti-Christ has deigned to hijack the department of roads - I believe he now occupies a more comfortable seat in the Oval office in a foreign land ...
*jj earthschild is a lifelong musician, trained as a Steiner music therapist and educator. She has composed several albums, musicals and a rock opera, touring mostly in the USA. She has written for the Byron Bay Echo and several journals in Hawaii. After a decade working as a musician and therapist for Western tantra seminars, she wrote two books on female sexuality and has since written ‘Meetings with Remarkable Animals’ and a book of poetry, ‘Domysticism’. None of these are so far published although there are a few copies of the latter hidden under her desk. She currently teaches sound and voice at http://eurythmia-astronomia.wix.com/aust This year she and her husband released a new CD earthSchild which can be downloaded or streamed online: http://jaiiaearthschild.wixsite.com/earthschild