My young friend is new in town. New in the world in fact. He is two and a half years old and was born in Africa. He’s lived in Benalla for one and a half of those years so he is still very new in town. One of those years was lived almost totally in lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic and we didn’t get to explore much of his brave new world but we did get to know each other. Now we are making up for the time lost.
Yesterday our adventure was to the Grandstand at the Benalla Showgrounds. This imposing old red and white structure with a curved roof was built in 1918 and seats around 800 people. The Grandstand is ‘architecturally important to the State of Victoria as a rare example of a surviving timber- framed grandstand, with a barrel roof and ornate timber cast iron lace frieze’ and it is Heritage listed. (quote -- the Victorian Heritage Database).
After a climb--well sort of a laboured scramble on both our parts-- up the dozen or so steps to the front of the building an area juts out and this was used as a bandstand in times past. Here my young friend just stood in total absorption and gazed, entranced, at the view from between the railings. Then, several times, he slowly thrust out his arms sideways then brought them back in to try and encompass what must have seemed a view of vast perspective to him and capture another dimension. And the first time ever he had stood at such a height above ground. He clapped. The cockies flew overhead, some landed on the oval and he was thrilled ---flapping and clapping and dancing around yelling “bird bird--- I am a bird”.
My heart truly leapt with joy to share his moments of revelation and wonder. How great that a tiny person at the start of his life and a building of such an age can come together to provide such an epiphany for us both.
Too often it seems we forget those first precious moments of a child.