Don Quixote

Have you noticed that donkeys love to pose for the camera?

Recently I was in the Central West District of NSW indulging my obsession with rural churches. This involves regularly pulling to the side of the road, and after checking the ground for snakes, popping out of the car to let myself into a deserted church yard. Christian churches were traditionally built at the top of a hill and that is where you’ll find most of them in a country town, usually Catholic, Presbyterian or Anglican denomination. Often a faded old sign, planted in cracked red earth and surrounded by sparse yellow grass, lists the time and day of the monthly service. As I try to capture the mystical beauty of these places with my camera, my brain wonders how many people the priest or minister opens the carved wooden doors to each time he visits. Does he also come out to celebrate the occasional wedding or christening? Or is there no one left to sit on the old pews?

In the pretty town of Wattle Flat, near Bathurst, whilst taking a photo of the catholic church, I met one of the locals who lived next door. I knew his name immediately because it was engraved on the sign that hung at the entrance to his neat shelter a little further back in the paddock. His sweet face had appeared within the lenses frame just as I snapped my picture so I walked over to introduce myself.


After a friendly greeting, Don Quixote (pronounced Donkey-otie for those unfamiliar with Miguel de Cervantes’ novel) obligingly posed for a selfie with me.

As I drove off to the next lovely town on this summer tour of the lands beyond the Blue Mountains, I got to thinking that Don Quixote was not the first jackass to photo bomb one of my travel snaps. At Little Hartley, only the year before last, I met another burro who was munching grass in a meadow abutting a tiny church and also insisted on being captured on camera.

Being descendants of the original beast that trekked from Nazareth to Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph, and then assisted in their flight to Egypt, donkeys are likely comfortable with religion and the wide-open spaces where country churches are often found. And it seems they’ve got nothing against visual representation. Certainly the original one had a knack for being included in the family portrait.


Interestingly, although I like to check out city churches too, they don’t seem to sport pretty donkeys for neighbours. However, I’ve been reliably informed that Palm Sunday is the day when many of them get work in the re-enactment of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

As we journey through this new year, may we all share our arrivals and triumphs with each other and our furry friends.

 


Image: ‘Rest on the Flight into Egypt’ by Fra Bartolomeo c. 1500; Public Domain courtesy of Wiki Commons

About sagesomethymes

Daniela is a writer, theatre producer and civic educator. She has had poetry and short stories published in 'Prayers of a Secular World', Inkerman & Blunt; 'Blue Crow Magazine', Blue Crow Press; 'Knitting and other stories', Margaret River Press and Radio National’s '360 documentaries'. Her debut play, 'Talc', was produced in 2010. Her short play, 'Sicilian Biscotti', was produced for the launch of “Women Power and Culture” at New Theatre in 2011 and shortlisted for the Lane Cove Literary Award in 2015. Her second full length play, 'Friday', was produced by SITCO at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in 2013. 'The Poor Kitchen' was produced in 2016 as part of the Old 505 Theatre’s Fresh Works Season and was published by the Australian Script Centre in 2017 (https://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1836). It was re-staged by Patina Productions at Limelight on Oxford in 2019. She co-wrote 'Shut Up And Drive' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at KXT in 2016. 'Seed Bomb' was produced at Old 505 Theatre as part of the FreshWorks Season in 2019 and has been published by the Australian Script Centre (https://australianplays.org/script/ASC-2166). She is the co-founder of indie theatre company subtlenuance (www.subtlenuance.com) Her published short stories can be read via the Short Stories tab on this blog.
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