The Beginning of a Real Change

The Beginning of a Real Change

‘What’s the matter with you?’ yelled Eric the farmer, right in his face. ‘Haven’t woken up yet!’

Zane didn’t answer. ‘How the hell did he get himself into this mess?’

‘Bloody well hit the silly bloody things if they won’t go in the shed,’ the farmer yelled at Zane again.

Zane couldn’t do it. ‘Hit a bloody cow, no way.’

Zane pushed on the side of the lead cow, the one blocking the way, the one with all the other cows behind it.

‘Come on, you silly old tart,’ he said right next to its ear.

The big brown face turned to look at Zane and he saw the big eyes looking back.

‘Looks like she’s crying,’ Zane thought to himself.

He put his hands on her side and pushed her again, this time she moved forward a bit and Zane leaned over close to her again and said, ‘Come old girl, move along or he’ll bloody well hit ya.’

The big boned animal turned to look at Zane once more and slowly moved into the milking shed.

‘Thank God for that,’ thought Zane.  

All the other cows slowly followed until they were all lined up ready for milking. Zane put the cups on and soon the throb of the milking machines filled the shed. The first lot went out and the next lot went in, no trouble.

It had been seven weeks now since Zane got probation and been told by the department to take on this job. He had a trial period of eight weeks and he couldn’t wait until it was over. He liked it in the country though. Waking up with the birds singing, listening to the song thrush calling up the sunrise. Walking to work through the dewy grass, everything still and clean. It was the farmer he couldn’t stand. He was cruel and mean. Zane had never been in a milking shed before but the guy expected him to know how to do stuff. He didn’t show him properly either. Always yelling and when he started hitting the cows to get them to move, Zane nearly left there and then. But he couldn’t; if he left now he would blow the probation conditions and end up in the juvenile detention centre at Wellsgate.  No way had he wanted to go there. So he stuck it out with shit head Eric and tried to do the work without getting into too much trouble.

Zane hadn’t wanted to go that night with his mates. They had already been drinking and when they saw him walking home they talked him into getting in the car with them. Zip was okay, he was pretty level headed, held down a job and everything but the other two guys who were brothers were just plain dumb. He tried to talk his way out of it but Zip kept saying, ‘Nah man, everything’s cool, we’re just going to go and get some smokes and beer and head home.’ Zane got in the back with one of the dumb guys, Clarry or something like that. ‘Yeah, we just going to have a few drinks eh?’ Clarry said to his brother and anyone who would listen. Zane felt uncomfortable. He’d told his mum he wouldn’t be too long and now here he was, going off to who knows where, for who knows how long.  

Zip stopped at the bottle shop and picked up beer and ciggies. Coming back to the car he told Zane to jump in the front with him. ‘Jump in the back with your brother, Artie.’ he said. I want my mate to ride up front with me. Zane liked Zip, solid guy, pretty cool, didn’t get angry when he got drunk or want to beat up people like some guys did.  Zip opened a bottle and passed it to Zane. ‘There ya go mate, drink up.’ Zane took a swig and let the cool liquid go down his throat. Zip handed a bottle to each of the brothers. ‘No-one got anything illegal on them have they?’ said Zip. ‘Nah mate.’ said Clarry and Artie in unison. ‘That’s good,’ said Zip, ‘Ya never know if you’re going to get stopped.’

It happened really quickly, Zane couldn’t tell where the car came from, but all of a sudden Zip was pulling on the steering wheel trying to get out of the path of the oncoming car. ‘Shit, shit, shit, where did that come from?’ Zane could hear Zip saying. The car slammed into the back of Zip’s car and they spun around, Zip managed to straighten up the car again road and stopped at the kerb. The other car kept going until it slammed into a lamp post and came to a grinding stop.

When the police came, Zip got done for drunk driving, the brothers got done for having dope in their pockets and Zane got done for being an accessory after the fact. Zane, because of his age got probation and compulsory work detail and here he was, listening to Eric every day yelling and cursing at these big dumb animals. At least his day was short. He arrived at six in the morning but was finished by one o’clock most days.

Zane had started buying vegetables from the farm next door to take home to his mum on the weekends. That was another good thing, he got two days off each week. The veggie farm was really different. The people were like old style hippies. Straw hats, sandals, vegetarians, hard working in their gardens whenever Zane went there. They were friendly and the veggies were really cheap and organic.

‘You working next door for Eric?’ asked Sarah the first time he went there. ‘Yeah, but only for eight weeks.’

‘That would be long enough, wouldn’t it?’ she said.

‘Yeah,’ he’s not the easiest bloke to work for, that’s for sure.’ said Zane.

‘You should come and work for us.’ she said.

‘Oh, I dunno.’ said Zane.

‘Maybe one day.’ Sarah said.

After that Zane spent more time talking to Sarah when he went to buy veggies. She told him things he didn’t quite understand. Things about meditation and living simply. Things about being a spiritual being and finding a higher purpose. Zane listened, because how she said it made it seem true but he couldn’t grasp the words. At work he would think about some of the things Sarah had told him. How each person and animal form really just covered their true self? Zane tried to see the cows that way. ‘Was each cow really someone?’ The way Sarah put it, or Zane thought that it was what she was getting at, was that the cows, the farm dogs, the song thrush, even himself, were covered up by their bodies but each body was the housing for the real person inside.  He tried a few things she had said to do.

Sarah had told him that every cell in his body had been replaced with new cells. He thought about how the body he had on now was different from the one he had when he was a kid. But he felt the same, he remembered things from when he was little and he could remember them now so he asked her next time if he was the mind. If that was where the remembering was coming from? Sarah explained to him that the mind was like a storehouse of all the things that had happened to him and he could sit and watch his thoughts but then ask the question, ‘who was doing the watching.’

‘Man, that was a tricky idea,’ thought Zane as Sarah was telling him.  But at work he tried it out. ‘I’m thinking of my mum, I can see her face, I know she was disappointed in me for getting into trouble but it won’t happen again.’ Zane could see that he was having these thoughts and then he asked himself, ‘Who is watching my mind? Who is it that is having these thoughts? It is me. Like Sarah says, I am not my mind either. Pretty tricky stuff.’  Zane felt pretty good about looking at himself in a different way. He wanted to know more and he was thinking that when he finished at Eric’s he would see if Sarah still wanted someone to work on the veggie farm.

At the end of the eighth week, Zane went to buy veggies and to talk with Sarah. ‘It’s my last day today Sarah,’ he said. ‘I was wondering, do you have any work here?’ I really want to know more about what you are into and I’m sure I could learn the work pretty fast.’

Sarah assured Zane that they had work for him. She told him to be there on Monday, seven thirty start. Zane thanked her and then asked her, ‘You know the thing about not being the body and not being the mind, how can I remember that. You know, like in the day and stuff. Is there something I can do?’ Sarah took a small necklace of wooden beads from her pocket. These are meditation beads. If you spend a bit of time each morning and even in the evening you will find yourself feeling peaceful and it calms the mind as well.”

Sarah showed Zane how to use the beads, how to roll each individual one between his fingers and at the same time softly saying the spiritual sounds of, ‘Gopala Govinda Rama Madana Mohana.’ Zane listened as Sarah spoke the sounds and fingered the beads. Zane joined in, ‘Gopala Govinda Rama Madana Mohana.’ He said this several times with Sarah and then she handed him the beads. “I think you’ve got it.’ she said.

Zane took the beads and softly repeated the mantras. ‘Thanks Sarah, I’ll practice over the weekend.’

“See you on Monday morning then, oh yeah, we have an evening of singing here once a week, using these sacred sounds and having a little supper. You are more than welcome to come to that.”

Zane thanked her again and put the beads in his pocket. He was really happy that he had work to come to on Monday and that he would be hanging out with Sarah and her husband. He touched the beads in his pocket and somehow he knew that his life was about to change because of this knowledge shared by Sarah.

That a whole new direction and future were opening up for him. ‘Gopala Govinda Rama Madana Mohana,’ he said softly to himself as he made his way home to his mum.

Editorial Team
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