Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
November 2023
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Mt Charlie ghosts

A trip to Melbourne for a conference allowed me to plan an extra day doing a little maintenance on some of my Victorian caches. The most problematic one — in terms of damage and distance to travel to get to it — was on Mt Charlie, about 50 minutes north of Melbourne, not far from a Scout camp that I used to visit frequently. I had arranged with my friend David to provide me with some transport and company … and — as he is an ex-Scout and now leader, plus the owner of my old Subaru, and as the places we were visiting were frequent haunts when I lived in Victoria — there was much reminiscing and a feeling of finding ghosts from the past as we made our way around.

Actually, some of the ghosts were rather faded and more ethereal than I had expected. Places that I had visited many times had changed or were no longer as familiar as I had thought they would be, and at times I had to stop and think about how to get to a particular place even though I had been there many times in the past.

The road we took to Mt Charlie, though, was still as narrow and rutted and muddy as I recalled, while the countryside was much greener and the Xanthorrhoea plants much more abundant than I remember from my last visit to this area nearly six years ago. After parking the car, we made our way up the track to the cache I wanted to fix, and found it a damaged and soggy mess (I knew I had stocked it well, but had forgotten just how abundantly … but most of it was ruined). We replaced it with a version I hope will survive slightly better, and enjoyed the winter sunlight lighting up the feathered leaves of the grass trees.

After returning back to Essendon, and catching up with my other ex-Scout/leader Matthew (the two “lads” are seen here in a post from a couple of years ago), I visited another couple of my caches for maintenance. My regrets for the day were not being able to catch up with some other friends, and failing to take more photos.

My final cache maintenance act was later in the day on my own (actually, not entirely alone, since a friend came with me by phone!), as I repaired one of my favourite caches which I have on the University of Melbourne campus. This visit, and some wandering down a time-changed Lygon St afterwards in search of dinner, added to the haunted feeling of the day, as echoes of the past and memories of myself and others and things done flitted through my mind, often without clear resolution.

The ghosts often confuse me in their haziness; they haunt me because I know they’ve shaped me, even when I may not be certain how, and because I know they actually still have influence.

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