it is not a world of black and white no matter how often my father insists, it isn”t

 

AFL Grand final yesterday.

We turned up at Elsie’s to watch the drama unfold.

Hawks versus Swans.

Who are you going for? Jess asks me.

Well not an easy answer, at least not for me.

I have been known to swap teams mid game

and I make no apologies for that.

It’s a shame they can’t both win said John as the camera panned the dejected faces of the hawks players.

I want to go to South America,he said  where somewhere he read about they play games and it isn’t about winning, it’ s about everyone competing with themselves.

We used to devise games like that here when the girls were growing up, games that tested them individually and also allowed the more skilled ones  to help the littler ones achieve  the same goal .

I used to make up quizzes in which there was no wrong answer.They would be about our adventures or stories we had heard .

The girls would argue with me that it wasn’t right for everyone to be right, that’s how much school had already contaminated them but I persisted and they humoured me and we all learned to play and laugh and ‘win’ together.

The funny thing is in a culture of winners and losers we have difficulty imagining another way we could organise our competitions. We assume to compete means to win, well yes but no.

We have difficulty in thinking outside of this box.

But that is always the challenge is it not? to consider other, to examine ideas and dreams by turning the multifaceted crystal around in our hands and seeing from all the different angles, by walking a mile in anothers shoes.

it is not a world of black and white no matter how often my  father insists,it isn’t.

It is rainbow, it has so many colours hues and tones that we are like babies exploring a universe we can never ever come to the end of.

And so maybe I was going for the Hawks admiring Buddy, Sewell ,Cyril and Roughhead but then I have a special connection with Sydney because I have seen them play at Manuka Oval in Canberra and what is there not to like about Goodes and O’Keefe and Jetta?

When I came out a few years ago and pronounced that I had fallen in love with AFL many of my friends were shocked, you are joking right? said Heidi.

Well yes but no I said.

I followed it diligently for several years reading the sport pages listening to crackly broadcasts on my tranny and discussing finer points with the footy side of the family.

Then Kingston was born and  I lost interest, at best now I am a lukewarm fan able to join the family for an end of year hoorah and recognize a few moves,shout a few unintelligible comments and cringe when it gets down to the wire in the last nail biting hiding behind the cushion moments .

And then it is done for the year.

 

John is up in the boatyard early this morning  working on having the boat ready .

His birthday wish is to take his family sailing and we are fingers crossed that it is done and a perfect sailing day coincides with the Birth Day.

It is nearly there and Kingston is being sized up for a life jacket.

We have already moved onto the menu or at least the cake aspect of it.

 

 

 

sometime over the equinox weekend while all of us were away the baby swallows hatched out

 

John found a tiny half eggshell  soft and delicate white with brown speckles. It was lying just outside the kitchen  door under where the swallows are nesting.

sometime over the equinox weekend while all of us were away the baby swallows had hatched out.

I found another half shell  in the garden and placed it in kingstons hand. He carried it ever so gently for a while when we went for a walk but gradually the excitement of looking up for the mistletoe bird and the bending down to sniff the candle flowers it crumbled disintegrated and fretted out of his clutch.

And he didn’t even notice its departure.

There is much  zooming into the nest  by both parents. At this stage the cheep cheeps are very muted and heard best in the pantry because that is the wall  the nest backs onto.

We watch avidly day by day for the time when the little ones are tall enough to poke their heads over the edge of the nest and look at us.

John and I went out to Gondwana for a retreat on the equinox weekend. Jess  Greg and Kingston and Elsie went to The Farm for an open day of community celebration.

Bec took down the cosmic nesting installation and headed off on a road trip taking the creative journey to the north and then to the south.

Further  west of here, the other side of the tuross, far far from anywhere is the little belimba creek .

It had been many couldn’t remember how many years since we had been here. For a while there  it was a favourite place for us and the kids to camp and do yoga retreats, sweatlodges and medicine journeys.

Three hours after we set out from home we drove in to The Point where the creek does a big loop. it is crystal  clear ,rushing busily over rocks and deep enough for a swim.

a stage and a kitchen have  been permantly set up for community gatherings. Colourful flags fluttered in the breeze welcomed us in.

A tipi and an earthlodge waited for ceremony to begin.

We meditated beside the clear waters of the creek as the sun rose and filtered thru the huge she oaks.

we sat in circles with our wishes  and songs.

we walked the labyrinth lit by candles under a starlit night sky.

we sweated and prayed together.

we drank deep at the well of community and love.

We danced ecstatically to rhythms old and new.

The sounds of didgeridoo drum  flute violin guitar and angelic voices. An eclectic mix of music from pink Floyd  to  spiritual chants.

Adults and children played soccer , laughter was raised, fires kept busy with cheer and hot water.

A  pot of chai that never ran out nurtured our souls.

the goanna cruised thru the camp and  the nesting currawong near the labyrinth watched our every move.

Clouds scattered formed up blew away returned.

This was my spring equinox;

a time to remember and count the many  blessings in my life,

a time to remember and count the gifts given  from mother earth

from water and air

from fire and creator.

 

…and the whales came to the party

 
the little king turned two on sunday
and the whales came to the party.
it was the dark of the moon.
 
we won’t get into the whole present thing that goes on 
except to point out that someone gave him two BMWs
and someone gave him a bucket and spade
and someone gave him an easel  with blackboard ,whiteboard, magnetic and painting possibilities.
and already he has dipped into the red the blue the yellow and the green making his mark on paper,
 with quiet determination and  utmost seriousness
a masterpiece appears .
 
and  why wouldn’t it be ?
who says only adults can be artists ?
who and what is it that determines  the merit of art ?
isn’t  it  heART   feeling  love.
 
he received a painting of whimsy by penny jones 
teapots and teddy bears 
clouds and puppy dogs.
bec painted him a journey, 
a cosmic rainbow tale of meanderings 
and wanderings and stories yet to be lived.
 
 
over a lemon and sugar pancake  breakfast
with present opening
we turned our discussion to gender, 
to nature versus nurture 
to genes or culture.
is it that he loves cars because he is a boy 
or because someone gives him thomas the tank engine stories hats and clothes?
how preset are we?
and no we haven’t figured it out yet.
 
I think back to the girls running wild here ,
grubby urchins with one eye on the pantry and what they could score,
another eye on regular market stalls on the back verandah to load up with cash.
once I offered them a gold coin to hop in the freezing Belllingen river 
and they did.
 
they climbed trees swung off ropes
but never played with cars.
they loved fairies and magic wands
and drawing unicorns
but never looked at bikes or trucks.
 
 
there was phone calls from nanas and aunties and grandpas
all to celebrate the magical mystical journey called ‘growing up’.
 
 
 
off we went to mystery bay for a party picnic,
we took the hommous, the teapot,  salads  vege sausages and pork.
we lit a  fire on the bank under the spotty gums and looked down onto the bay at ocean water clear and blue. 
 waves splashed spray over the rocks,
dogs kids frisbees,a  cricket game 
all at sunday play.
sunny and warm on the beach.
a sharp wind where we were.
 
two candles on a cupcake with a borage flower on top,
elsie rose stayed snoozing under the picnic blanket 
and the bucket and spade went down to the beach
 to build castles by the sea.
John fell asleep on the sand and Bec left to take her clothes off in the hall at Cobargo,
life modelling they call it.
 
and then when we were on our final cuppa 
and the day was almost done 
the whales arrived 
just off shore
heading south.
sliding their huge bodies with consummate ease thru the cold waters
blowing out fountains of spray 
and dreaming. 
 
dreaming and singing their song 
of living within the depths
of stars and tribes,
of births and deaths 
of  planetary changes.
 
 if we listen really hard we can hear them  sing their song
and now the song includes a verse of the day Kingston John turned two.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I am officially stood up

 
it was friday and I had just finished my afternoon shift at Black Wattle Gallery
ahead of me was a home alone evening for John and I.
Greg had hived off to elsies place for a footy game. 
we are into the final countdown of the season 
and each weekend is nail-biting love affair.
 
he took the wife and the baby with him.
bec’s away, 
me and my man home alone.
 I  discard the take away curry option because I have a couple of chops in the coolroom
and decide  a movie might be the go.
one of those action types that don’t highbrow us about anything in particular except serve up the hero who is often a bad good guy winning the day and the girl.
it is a tired old formula and I blame Hogan’s heroes, Bonanza and the Avengers for this deviance in my character.
 
why don’t I get off on comedies like Cheryl does?
Greg did put it on a little britain show the other evening
and I was challenged to watch it 
which I did but I don’t think I laughed.
I blame the benny hill show  for this state of affairs.
 
so I called into our united service station 
that has been in the hands of the Indians ever since Guy and Tanya  sold it.
I spend ages in their movie room allowing the chink chink of sale  and slam of credit machine and have a nice evening wash over me.
I finally choose one, an overnighter  but in all seriousness it is a dismal collection .
I take it up to the counter
and this is what happened.
are you new?  the young Indian man asks me
uh???
are you new to town? he repeats a tad impatiently.
aaahh no..been here about 30 odd years with a bit of a grin.
you haven’t been here before?? 
aaah yes.. 
he fires off a in a not to be understood communication with her in the back room,
she replies in a not to be understood language.
have you any id? he asks.
 what the heck is going on? I am thinking.
how about my driver’s license I say holding it out?
he looks at it, you live at wandella ??
I detect suspicion from him but why?
yes, you have probably seen me in here .
I stop smiling perhaps that is the problem.
 no he shakes his head handing the  card back to me .
more conversation between  him and her.
then he says that will be a $20 deposit and when you bring it back we will refund.
  just forget it thanks. 
 no problem he says .
 
 I wander out into late friday  arvo traffic snarl at the petrol pumps
have a yarn thru a car window to Luciano. 
he laughs and laughs 
telling me  that he has  heard a few stories like that.
 
and then a  friday later I am in Cobargo again
 a meeting for coffee at Chalk and Cheese to finalise the survey for the Black Wattle Gallery
and who wants to do what in terms of workshops.
I am finished and walking towards to the car when John roars around the corner on the bike stopping when he sees me.
where to my man?
Bodalla he says, to get a matchbox car for the little kings birthday on sunday. 
yep he will be two.
well how about meeting me for a curry on your way back?
you won’t believe it because I didn’t but he said no. 
things to do ,this and that and didn’t know how long and …
ok I get it .
I am officially stood up.
see you at home then.
 
so I head off to Bermagui  for sausages for a beach bbq,  
eat a danish pastry and indulge in some whale watching.
the waves are troughs and peaks with choppy little white caps 
but no whale not like monday when I sat at the beach of souls 
and saw a massive black shape heave up and over 
a splash and flick of a tail 
an oh my god moment 
again!!!
 
I drive back to Cobargo with the setting sun full square in my eyes
and I hum and ha and hum and ha
and then  decide to go home and what , have a sandwich for tea
that did it.
 
I sit and eat a chicken curry at sweet home cobargo
there is music later but for now it is me dining alone though people are passing thru for take aways.
Cathy tells me she is getting married
only been with  Bob for 17 years so why not?
a beach ceremony ,she has been trying to die sand but its not working
 
so she is buying it over the internet  instead.
 
 
are you coming up to the opening of the Monet mobs watercolour exhibition?
Elizabeth asks
I am.
she has to report on behalf of our local rag the triangle so she takes off her apron and heads off.
the exhibition is on at the lazy lizard gallery which used to be Bass Gas when Guy and Tanya had it and then they moved up the hill and sold to the Indians.
from servo to gallery .
 
 
 
 
I follow and join a gathering of shapes and sizes and colours,
a barman with a bow tie, a fire in a drum on the pavement ,
champagne corks popping, dips and spring rolls, chips and olives.
 
the Monet mob are a group of women who have been painting together for 7 years, 
none are under 50 and the oldest is in her 90’s.
for most of then it is their first exhibition and it is good work.
they are humble and speeches flow, cameras click 
children run around.
the sky darkens and  John turns up freezing 
has a glass of wine, a snack, a chat, a look at the art.
perhaps we are having a date after all.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

the dolmades were gone by 9pm and we wailed that there were none left over.

saturday night cosmic nesting was unveiled at the Black Wattle Gallery in Cobargo.
 
I don’t know what happened but saturday was freezing and those canberreans that ventured down here on friday came upon snow.
it was oh my god cold but then the next day warm and today so  hot with a northerly blowing it ‘s hot and dry at us.
 
remember this it is saying I am summer come to give you a taste of what will be.
I water the seedling and pray the summer is not too fierce for us pale lillies.
 
John did the horse duvvies again the melt in the mouth smoked trout and caper with home whipped mayonnaise and mussels and prawns.
Glenda and Rob arrived with the vine leaves a large jar of olives and their fun.
 
the dolmades were gone by 9pm  ands we wailed that there were none left over.
there was baklava and chocolate cake, there was red wine and white.
 
there was a trestle table on the sidewalk and flowers and candles illuminated the glow of friendships and coming together laughter.
 
directly at seven bec said, I am doing it now, opening the installation and we filed into the gallery .
 
 t’ taaa .. the curtain was swept aside and people flocked in to wonder ,to a brightly painted spiral of  creative dreamings arising out of  a basket woven from family bibs and bobs ,friends offerings, discarded sheets, hair and old guitar strings, shells feathers,rocks and a lizard whistle.
 
from out of the forest of the faerie embassy it grew snaking around and around to contain all that can Be.
 
 a story woven of a  Saturn return; the  journey from birth to now, from stardust to form.
from an idea to a nest one can sit in and listen to songs to a poem of mine.
a living mandala to breathe into.
 
it was a  magical jellybean road production and drew old friends out of the past.
 
there was the artist  in her brown velvet trouser suit with an  earnest expression on her face giving a heartfelt speech about possibilities.
 
there was the little king in his nana made truck shirt and funky hat quietly eating olive after olive after olive and then straining to reach out to the hommous and scoop it onto a finger.
 
his mum and dad in fashionable  groovy retro comfortable in their skins now as parents of an almost 2 year old celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary.
 
there was John sitting outside in the dull light of the freezing evening,a  bag of oysters at his feet knife in hand and opening them on demand.
 
 
there were people buying jewellery in the gallery, talking politics,discussing art and deep ecology, building and gardens.
 
there was a concerted effort by Skye to discover Johns dolmades recipe.
 
and the very next day we found out that the front doors of the gallery had  not been locked.
someone had walked in ,a passing tourist  who on realising  the lights were not on notified a shopkeeper across the road which sent the town into a squirrel of activity to find someone with a key to take charge and lock up.
.
that’s  cosmic for you.
the doors to the realm of art were opened and remained open .
 
what a world that would be without locks or fear of loosing something?
without defences and sureties!!!
 
just come on in and look around ,
my heART is open.
 
you are welcome.
 
what a world to imagine
what a dream to dream.
 
 
 

I am starting to feel like the little red hen

 

Out of the blue I get a call from a woman who asks me if I would like to be booth captain at the Cobargo polling station.

It is local Council election time.

I recognize her voice immediately although I know she hasn’t clued to me yet.

A few years ago I did a cert. 4 in community services at Bega TAFE and followed up the next year with a Diploma . She happened to be one of my tutors .

I failed to gain the Diploma because although I  passed all the class activities I did not do my 500 million hours with a bona fide community organisation.

at the time I decided that  it was good for me to record a fail after all those school and uni years where achievement is the name of the game.

Take that I said to myself, fail at school, embrace it, celebrate it, what does it mean anyway?

the odd thing is that I was working my butt off at the time saving my friend Carole and her mother from having guardians take over their lives.

some well-meaning  friends had set up a meals on wheels service for them which meant that they got their shopping done each fortnight. Remember Carole does not drive nor leave the farm and Mum only went outdoors to go to the dunny.

one day the meals on wheels team gathered forces and  pronounced their situation horrific. They alleged that Carole and her mother  were mentally and physically incompetent suffering from mental illness and dementia. They felt the house was in danger of falling down, that it was filthy, an O H & S nightmare.

their solution was to apply to the courts for  guardians to be appointed.

I was able to put my TAFE teachings  to excellent use and   prevent this process happening.

dear  Davina who never harmed anyone but loved a cuppa  a chat and a good giggle  was broken by the assault upon her privacy and the bald-faced lies.

Carole  who had been running the farm singlehandedly since the early 80’s when  Dad had died  could not believe the story that these ‘bad’ people had made up.

We wondered how many other people get taken over because they don’t fit a recognisable social pattern, because they are eccentric and because they don’t have anyone to barrack for them.

I rallied  their friends and there were many , many people that bought sheep manure from Carole over the years and  admired her tremendously. There were endless reports, meetings, conversations with bureaucracy and lies to dismiss . The  letters of support  came rolling in and consolidated our position of their right to remain in their own home managing their lives.

I had myself appointed a legal representative so I could   stand up at the guardianship tribunal hearing  and advocate on their behalf.

In the 11th hour before we were due to attend the hearing the community service team behind the assault backed down and pulled their application .

We won.

The sad thing is that Davina died a year later, broken Carole says by those nasty people . Carole won’t have a bar of any services that could possibly be of a help to her now. No way she says will they get in here again .

And so I identify myself to my old tutor and ask what does acting booth captain mean?

how quaint. how yesterday.

I imagine a jaunty cap set on my head on an angle and straight back shoulders , an epaulette or three and salutes coming my way.

Setting up the boards and finding people to hand out leaflets on behalf of the Greens, she says.

Oh is that all?

Ok.  I ask Rebecca ,How about it?

sure, she says, love to, just put me on for 2 hours but make it after my art class with the kids .

I ask  my son in-law. I might have imagined a small gulp but he answered bravely enough,yeah sure 2 hours not a problem.

John had a lot of provocative conditions to him signing up .

And then quick as a flash Bec tells me she has to go to Canberra for a weekend of fun.

And then Greg realises the Hawks are playing Collingwood and he has to butter up Elsie  so he can watch it at her place which puts him out of the picture.

The others on my list are away, not available and suddenly I am a captain without troops.

I am starting to feel like the little red hen.

the funny thing  is that, actually I don’t vote. Yep not on the electoral roll, nor a signed up member of the Greens either.

I have thought about going  back on the roll but nowadays it requires me to prove my citizenship and to do that I have to apply for a bit of paper which costs me money.

naaahhhh not that keen and besides I kinda like it now that I am a petty official while remaining  a free agent.

Afterall the revolution is beyond party politics, beyond councils governments and systems, it is when all is said and done a movement of spirit, of heart of awakening .

and yet  still we must offer our selves to the barricades, to the trenches to the front line when we are called.

I am still gathering the team and we will be there, to wave the flag of hope for all of nature, for all of our relations, for social justice ,for the forests and the water we drink.