Shepparton News

Fully jabbed, I took a leap of faith

- MY WORD John Lewis john.lewis@ John Lewis is a journalist at The News.

Behind every beautiful thing, there’s been some kind of pain.

I think it was His Royal Bobness who said that.

And because Mr Dylan steals a lot of stuff, I’m stealing that lovely line of his for my introducti­on.

Anyway, it’s a truism because a vax jab is a beautiful thing, but it’s not painless.

Each vaccinatio­n is jammed with 3000 years of science, from Aristotle asking how and why the world works, to the boffins and epidemiolo­gists of Oxford and Harvard juggling impossible numbers, antigens and immune systems.

Unfortunat­ely, the jab comes with a little sting.

Some people think it also comes with mindcontro­lling microchips planted by cabals of frillnecke­d lizards who are really paedophile­s.

Some people are just plain afraid of needles. Others don’t trust science because they don’t understand it. Some, but very few people, have uncontroll­able and potentiall­y fatal physical reactions to vaccines.

That’s the pain that comes with the beauty. It’s the way the world works. Rose bushes have thorns and drinking alcohol will eventually kill you.

Yesterday I went for a walk with Prince Finski down by the swollen river. It’s always a thing of beauty to walk beside a massive force of water on its way to the sea.

The ordinary earth upon which you walk is suddenly a solid thing of safety while this unpredicta­ble rush of power beside you becomes dangerous and chaotic.

Prince Finski was fascinated by the changed height and flow of this new expanse of water.

What was once a slow old everyday river was now a thing to be investigat­ed.

Despite his arthritic back legs he did his best to charge up and down the bank to

follow the debris, natural and man-made, that rushed along the surface. He was a pup again in a brand new world.

Then he disappeare­d. No amount of calling or whistling drew his return. I tramped up and down the

bank with no response. Eventually I found him in a gully, sunk to his chest in brown water feeding the overf low into the surroundin­g bushland. He was on the other side, stuck fast and not even panicking.

This was the moment when beauty turned to pain.

I looked down at him with derision. You pathetic dumb old bloke, I thought. Trying to be a teenager when you’re 80 years old. He looked up with eyes that said ‘don’t just stand there — get me out of this’.

I didn’t know how deep the gully was, and I was wearing my newly washed black jeans and cool yellow tradie boots.

I walked back down the gully and found a fallen branch straddling the water. The branch looked a bit thin and the water looked a bit deep. But it was either walk the branch and jump to the opposite bank, or walk 5 km to find a dry path to rescue an arthritic old dog.

I thought, I’ve had two AstraZenec­a jabs, I’ve f lown across the world twice and I rode around London on a motorcycle every day for five years as a press courier without a broken bone and I’m still alive. So I jumped.

I landed breathless and exhilarate­d on the other side of the bank, dragged Finski out of his watery prison and battled mudbanks and tall grass to find my home.

The skies were a floating postcard blue, and the wattle looked even more golden than at the start of our walk.

The whole experience was a beautiful thing and it was painful. But it was worth it.

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 ??  ?? The river: It’s both beautiful and terrifying.
The river: It’s both beautiful and terrifying.

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