Today, Tuesday 6th November was Melbourne Cup Day (also known as the horse race that stops a nation) and overseas, it was the US Presidential elections. The morning news was abuzz with both events although local interest was higher in the iconic horse race.
Melbourne Cup Day is the one day of the year that I actually gamble. Money is too hard to earn for me to risk loss of it. However, today after having researched the field and after listening closely to all the pundits, I made my selections and placed my bets. I also put a bet on the long shot with the highest odds. Today was a day full of possibility. A day where one decision could alter the course of life at least for a while.
For the rest of the day as I worked, I indulged in the fantasy of a very big win. I thought about how I'd spend the money and who I'd help. It was as good as a holiday.
In addition to my daydream, I enjoyed the not business-as-usual appearance of people and the general air of festivity. Today, women dressed up, wore fascinators, flashed stockinged legs, and balanced on very trendy high heels. In short, they dressed with elegance and style rather than the usual dress of the day. Men too opted for something other than un-ironed clothing, downtrodden jeans, and worn sneakers.
My grandfather used to say that style, colour, and grooming reflected character. He was very particular about the shine of shoes - something people do not seem to bother about much nowadays. "The poorest person can take pride in her appearance, Chrissy ( his pet name for me). A groomed head of hair, clean, neatly pressed clothes, and polished shoes say self-respect."
Although he would recognise that life is significantly better for men and women nowadays, he'd be dismayed by their apparent lack of self-respect and downtrodden appearance. I take great care with mine and think of him each morning as I look at the reflection before me.
As with most workplaces across the nation, lunch today was very festive and catered. The temperate weather meant we ate outside at picnic benches and enjoyed the dappled light cast by the trees and the developing heat that announced the arrival of summer.
At 3 pm, with the rest of the nation, I took ten minutes out of the day to watch the televised lead-up-to the race and the event itself. The thunder of hooves down the racetrack always amazes me as does the neck-and-neck battle for the first three places. What must it sound like live?
No, I didn't win but I wasn't disappointed. I had an upbeat day. I felt good at the day's end, optimistic.
In the mood for something different but without any real options, I chose a different route home - the long way to where I wanted to go. I was rewarded with an unexpected surprise at the junction of Macs Reef Road and the Federal Highway (north of Canberra).
A mini Stonehenge had sprouted in paddocks on a hill. I have no idea why it was erected. There weren't any explanatory signs. It hasn't been in the news. It is just there. I took a few pictures to share with you.
Drafting this blog, I again realised that life is full of surprises. Detours are not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, the long way to where we want to go can actually be rewarding. So take heart everyone who is striving to reach what seems an unattainable goal. Perseverance is the key to any success. The long way to our preferred destination may be more rewarding.