The enormous sweetness of small things

 

The sweetness that he brings to all things is unfiltered; every action, every interaction, every utterance. It is nearly all there is and it is everything.

“Just a second …” he implores from atop a mountain of soft pillows, beneath a mountain of soft blankets and duvets, (everything is soft) trying to put his good hearing aid in place (the other one got dropped and only transmits news from Mars.) It takes a full minute to get the hearing aid place, a minute and a half in total because he was struggling at the beginning. But I am not going anywhere. Where would be nicer than here?

“Now” he says, grateful for the waiting, “how did you sleep?

“Great!” I say and he looks happy.

“How did you sleep?” I ask

“I slept okay …” he says yet I detect a drollness between the lines, almost inaudible but there. I think it is in the way he rounds his words.

“I didn’t fall out” he continues, “so that was good.”

“Well, that is good!” I confirm and he laughs.

The news is conveyed as a small miracle, like someone who has gone to the supermarket to for honey – and finds a jar.

Sheilagh lies awake beside him, listening in, letting him do the talking. When she does speak, it is to suggest a hot honey and lemon drink, which is their morning ritual, but I put it down to sheer coincidence.

“Yes, please” says my father and Sheilagh rolls over and is up, gone to make it.

“Did Pete sleep okay?” asks my father because it wouldn’t be a normal conversation without him asking if Pete is okay/slept okay/how Pete is.

“Pete slept very well.” I say. “I was just going to make us some tea but I thought I’d check on you first. You’re still here, so that’s good!”

“Yes!” says my father.

Sheilagh returns with the honey and lemon drink and my father, who is lying on his side, reaches out for it. His movements are slow, like a snowman coming to life, his arm stretching in slow motion toward the bedside table for the drink. Somehow he is able to drink it lying there on his side although it is a little too hot so I add some cold water.

“Thankyou” says my father and continues to sip it sideways, atop the pillows. He is so comfortable atop these pillows, underneath these blankets, in this bed, he says.

“Sheilagh” he asks, sideways. He cannot easily roll over so he asks from the side of the bed, calling out to the other side where Sheilagh is snuggling up. Soon they will go back to sleep and so will I. It is early. Only Pete will get up (permanently) to go to work because he is the only one who is not retired. Eh-hem.

As for my father and Sheilagh, they catch up on sleep they lose in the wee hours when my father needs to … well, do the same. Sheilagh wakes up to help him because my father can’t do much of anything on his own anymore. I have never seen someone so tired or so happy.

The good thing is most of the furniture is electric so he gets rides to go up and down in bed, on his chair, everything. Electrical is the vogue of the house.

Other nights, a carer takes Sheilagh’s place. My younger brother stays over most Thursday and Fridays nights because he is already a night owl and a 2am wee break is like day-time to him. It would probably only be interrupting his lunch.

“Sheilagh” my father is asking. “You used to give me one of those bent straws” he says, at angle to me and the drink. The cup is upright in his hand but because he is sideways, it is not working that well as a drink and he has remembered about the bent straws.

“Do you still have those?” he asks.

At another angle next to him, Sheilagh’s smile, silent and full of warmth, conveys that she does and I offer to get them since I am the only one standing.

I find them in the pantry, grab one and on my way back, drop in on Pete, across the hall. The walls are thin enough and he is close enough to have heard the conversation.

“Hi Sweetie” I say. “Would you like a bent straw in your tea?”

“Yes, please” he says and I take the straw in my hand into my father with the news that Pete would like a bent straw in his tea, too.

On second waking, Pete is gone and Xen has arrived, full of love, to take over from Sheilagh for a few hours. My father is still asleep.

Sheilagh is in the living room. I find her sitting by the table with newspapers. Morning is pouring in through the windows from the bay and lights the room perfectly in beautiful, early luminescence.

Quickly, we get to talking about the operation my father needs and which the surgeon has reluctantly confirmed. It’s tricky: cutting open his hairline across his skull, under local anesthetic.

Sheilagh has her face toward the light, exposing her thoughts. If just left, the situation could easily become worse. It is impossible to know what to do. The choice is stark.

I pop in to see my father once more before I go. Last time we talked, he said he didn’t want to end up with a tomato on the top of his head. Now, when I bring it up he says he is not worried about the hospital trip, he is only worried about his knee (which makes him afraid to stand) He is not confident of conveying this to the nurses.

Of the of the tomato, he only says: “I suppose it could be my brains.”

“Or your sense of humour …” I offer.

As I leave, I hear Xen trying to gently persuade him to maybe let her shower him, which has a marvellous restorative effect-  but my father turns her down with equal gentleness and perfect politeness.

“I don’t think so” he says with perfect politeness.

“I’m just so cosy here” he says, from the side and I know it is true. “It’s just so cosy in this bed. I don’t know why anyone ever gets up.”

“That’s what I say to Pete” I say and my father just catches it. I am pretty sure he wishes it were different, for Pete’s sake.

Later, I learn the shower went ahead as Xen planned. “She waves her magic wand over him,” says Sheilagh.

Beautiful artwork by Magaly Ohika

Composting dreams

dreamsTwo days after the last post I was walking home from town because it is winter and it is not too hot. Actually it is freezing. It’s not even close to not being hot. It’s a terrible understatement.

I was just going the normal route, past the dentist, past the other dentist, the art gallery, the nursing home and the church with the kindergarten. All of the dwellings, apart from the church, are old mountain cottages.

A small throng of parents, grandparents and carers started to gather outside the church, smiling as they got closer, their arms spilling over with babies. Others chased toddlers who had got away.

Just ahead of this gathering, a couple of girls stood under a tree, staring at the ground.

In a scene of mostly babies and guardians the girls were an anomaly.

One of them stooped down to examine something on the ground. She picked it up, dropped it and picked it up again. The other girl just stood there.

If that is a ring, I thought, you are being pretty clumsy with it.

Meanwhile I was gaining on them. Not that I meant to, it was just part of walking home.

When I got closer they stopped and started to walk off toward their car.

Next thing I knew I was in exactly the same spot they had been and without thinking, staring at the ground. Normally I am more discreet but by then it was like a public event.

At the base of the tree and surrounding it were tiny, little mushrooms. Yellow or yellow-gold.

They looked identical to the new ones taking over our garden which we had discounted as not magical although we certainly had a lot of them. The few magical elements leftover in our garden had already disintegrated.

If the girls believed these to be magic, I didn’t know what to do. I had a few ideas: I could go up to them and tell them they might have the wrong ones. They might have the right ones. My other idea was: blank, I think.

I turned to look and they were staring straight at me.

For a second we were stuck, frozen in each other’s accidental gaze.

Then they defrosted, got in the car and drove off, P-plate dangling.

All the way home – past the house with the musty fence that smells of old petrol, past the other church, up the hill, down the hill, past the house where the little boy called hello from the balcony, past the wattle tree blossoming out of season which makes the street smell like honey, through the vacant block and into our garden – I thought about it.

I gathered my things and set up camp in our garden (almost.) I still slept inside (mostly.) But the next few days were dreamy (pretty much.)

After a couple of nights I thought I noticed the garden twinkle. I was always there so it was hard to capture, like watching hair grow.

New mushrooms were appearing in flash mobs.

Yellow at first. Then one changed.

“That one is gold …” I said to Pete giving him a tour over the weekend.

“Oh” he said and he went back to polishing the car. It was getting harder for him to sustain interest. But obsessions are so personal, I almost understood.

A few days later, another one changed.

Then the rest of them. It happened overnight.

The garden was twinkling and it looked like a jewellery box. I wanted to throw a blanket over it.

I called Pete with an update.

“Aren’t you getting too involved?” he asked.

“Too involved? Me?” I run him through the facts: the garden has started to twinkle. It looks like a jewellery box.

“Uh-huh” he says.

“Yes.”

I can hear a keyboard.

“Are you typing?”

“I’m at work.”

“Oh. But don’t you think that’s extraordinary?” I run him through the numbers: between four and six hundred, maybe five hundred … uh …

“… I don’t know, but it’s a lot.”

I tail off …

… like this

Then I pounce back.

“Eight hundred magic mushrooms growing in our garden … That’s kind of weird, wouldn’t you say?”

He does although it could be the way I put it.

I needed research. Luckily, conducting it has never been easier and I studied charts, photos, how-to videos, comparison models, test methods.

I turned our kitchen into a laboratory. I picked a sample group; they passed each test, each test but one which was inconclusive because it didn’t get any results. I put it down to lab technique.

“Pete” I called again.”We have a farm.”

“Really?” He sounded surprised but just I ignored it.

“Yes. We need to put them in the compost. But will they come back? I mean, like the Cat in the Hat?”

“No” he said. “The worms will take care of them.”

The next day I dig them all up, all three hundred or so, nearly a third of a bin full. It would would have sent the local high school to the outer reaches of the Milky Way and back.

The day after I find around two hundred more, casually surfing another part of the garden.

They all go into the compost. It has started to escalate. There is quite a heap now.

There are dreams there too; every now and then I check.

I’m not absolutely sure but once, I think I saw a rabbit with a stop watch … but when I looked again I couldn’t find him. Another time, I found some lost comments I posted on a friend’s blog. The sentence structure was terrible. I got out my Masters book of English literature to correct them but when I reached in …

… there was only this teacup …

Dreaming image: çizgili masallar

Teacup image: lena revenko

Magic in the Garden

Absolutely gorgeousI suppose I always knew. But then I checked it out – first with Pete and then with my sister – and then I sort of didn’t know. Do you know what I mean?

I mean it was one of those occasions when you think you know something and then you check it out, for collaborative purposes, with someone who doesn’t know. Except you don’t know they don’t know. You assume the opposite. You think they might know.

By then it’s too late because you have included their not knowing – which is the wrong answer – into yours and come up with … sort of nothing. It’s like a wasted exercise.

Anyway. It happens around here sometimes. And it’s partly how I found what I found in the garden …

At first I wasn’t sure. I mean I was, but I wasn’t.

It’s autumn and we have had so much rain. Lots and lots. There are mushrooms and toadstools coming up everywhere – not just in our garden, throughout the neighbourhood. You see them by the side of the road, under trees, in flower beds, running wild in vacant blocks, popping up, taking over.

Some of them look just like those depicted in fairy tales: bright red spherical houses with white polka dots, fit for good folk. They are so life-like, these little dwellings, that I am not sure we are not living in their fairy tale, the fairy tale of the wee ones although they probably call it something else. Something unflattering probably. Like Clumsy-Big-Oaf-One tales. Although they probably shorten it. Don’t ask me to what, it’ll be unflattering for sure. Something like Oh-Fatous probably.

The mushrooms grow in infinite number and multitude species; there are many, many dwellings for the fair folk, should they choose to exist.

Tiny, wee toadstools painted gold gather in clusters, like little families. They look like they have been spray painted gold. Most of them are black now because they have been there all season but when I first noticed them they had the look of precious metal, sprayed on.

“Pete, come and have a look at these ” I said one day, ages ago.

“What do you think?”

“Yeah …” he said, mulling it over.

“I think they are magic mushrooms, don’t you?” Magic, meaning, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, magic. Meaning psychedelic, what are all those colours in the sky, magic?

“Yeah … nah” he said. “They’re not sprayed painted properly. They should look more sprayed.”

“Really? I’m not sure … “ I wasn’t. Yet I was. But I didn’t want to waste the exercise.

Then my sister came up.

“Do you want to see our magic mushrooms?” I asked.

We stared down. “I’m not sure … What do you think?” I asked her.

By that stage they had started to go brown and looked like little clusters of browning gold.

“Maybe they are Brown Moonies?” said my sister and I agreed, “maybe …” even though I had never heard of them. I had a feeling she hadn’t either. Still, it was a good guess.

Then last week I was in the garage, which is converted so it is like a room with glass where the garage doors would have been and shutters over the glass, which were open. And three teenagers walked past.

But when I got to the other side of the house I realised they hadn’t walked past. Yet I couldn’t see them. So they must have … vanished.

Then I heard giggling. They were right outside our place. They were in our garden.

Eh? … What are they …?

What would teenagers want with flowers? was my actual thought.

I decided to find out and opened the door quietly because I didn’t want them to hear me. But as soon as I turned the handle they popped up from between the foliage and started to walk away, really slowly. Nonchalantly. Like everything was super normal.

And somewhere between the front door, which I had walked out of, and the roadside, the pennies dropped.

So I just said: “Hi!

And they said: “Hi!”

Then I said: “I don’t think they are magic mushrooms.”

Then one of them said: “They are.”

“Really?”

“Yes” he said and offered some back to me, like I might like to have one in the evening instead of my usual tipple, which is a mineral water with bitter lemon cordial.

“No thanks” I said.

But I was mainly concerned for them because, well obviously, because of so many reasons.

So I just asked: “Have you had them before?”

And they replied, as one: “Yeah,” like it was the most boring answer in the world and they were sorry for it.

Then one of them added: “I’ve been having them since I was eleven!”

I wanted them to be safe. I didn’t want to scare them. I couldn’t stop them. I just wanted them to be safe.

All I could say was: “Be careful” over and over.

Then they left.

Then I called Pete.

“I knew it” I said.

“Yes” he replied.

“Yes, I mean I knew the garden was enchanted.”

“Yes” he said again.

I look in the garden every day now to see what they are up to. Not the teenagers, the little toadstools, growing black.

And they are everywhere. I think the new ones may be from a different gene pool, not so magical – it is hard to tell – but each time I look there are more.

And they are tiny. I honestly don’t know how anyone could ever find them.

When I pick flowers, I tread carefully. I peer at the ground before I even put a giant foot down.

I walk around families and groups on tip-toe. They can be hard to see. I don’t want to crush them.

I am spellbound.

But I don’t think I will be exchanging them for my grown up tipple.

Sometimes I have two.

FootstepsLovely (non-magical) mushroom: Pinterest

Beautiful artwork: Eszter Schall on Etsy

 

 

Beauty Spot

The world is littered with beauty.

We find it everywhere we live and so do others.

In Edinburgh people came to hear poetic, natural speech; consonants that were barely there, vowels that sometimes weren’t. They came for kilts in action which sounds rude but I do not mean it that way. For reigning queens held captive in their own castles, except nobody captures queens anymore so it must have been disappointing. The castles are still there though.

They came for hillsides where heather turns the scenery pink and purple and blurs it until it is out of focus, for the haggis who roam there.

They came from everywhere, every day and it felt like home.

Over here is another place of beauty we once lived. I do not mean to boast – in fact I am trying not to. But I am setting up the story and it is trickier than I thought. It could also sound boring because it is a bit fiddly to set up. If that is the case, check your reader for another post. Come back at the end. I might post another picture.

In Byron Bay people came from all over for entirely different reasons, very fresh.

They came to soak up vibes and there were plenty of them. They came for beaches with the sound of whales under water, for dolphins that arc and twirl in the air then disappear for the fun of it. They came for fresh air, for herbal air on market day.

On market day anything was possible. The other thing is most days were like market day.

Some people loved it so much they applied for visas because they had decided what to do with their life; live there.

Living there could be a bit mishmash; for example, thousands of people in town, none of them your neighbours. You had to search for your neighbours. If you wanted some community feeling you had to ignore thousands of people, millions per year, in the way of your eyes if you were looking for your neighbours. I didn’t care. I just couldn’t see my neighbours.

Now for the story: it’s a little bit tragic but only in the way of a fairy tale:

This town where Pete and I now live is the same. It is humming with tourists due to the world being littered with beauty.

The whole region is a national park with towns running up and down the highway. But mostly it is national park.

Our town is the cutest which might sound boastful but I am not just saying it; it is obvious:

Milling throngs are emptied from tour buses every day. They first stop for the views of blue mountains which is also the name of the region. Then they wander, with a time limit, in parks full of ancient gums that look like spirit guides. They move to the edge of waterfalls, as far as the fence allows, spotting lonesome lyrebirds, which are like peacocks but sing in Australian, or one that has sung well enough and attracted a mate.

Afterward they come to our town where an array of boutique shops sell artefacts with the word Paris printed on them or notebooks with pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It only makes sense adding up the till. Otherwise, I agree with you, it’s quite strange.

There is a new hotspot cafe which looks very cool but it is strictly for people from outta town, opening Thursday to Monday because they are the busiest days.The other days a signboard out the front lets you know they’re shut. But only the people left behind get to read it.

Occasionally the coach operators give the tourists extra time; time to wander, find a look-out, have a picnic.

One day a group of tourists wandered through town and found themselves near here, at our neighbours house. Admiring the view and the shelter, they set up a barbecue in his car port.

Things were just getting underway when another neighbour noticed them and told them it was just car port, not a beauty spot. It has a kind of view. Not much of one. A view of gumtrees, mainly. Maybe there is more to it, maybe I am missing something.

But not as much as they. They were very embarrassed and apologetic and there may have been some bowing. They packed up swiftly and went back to their tour bus. They had to walk of course – up the hill, down the hill and up again. It’s only ten minutes but they hadn’t had lunch.

I don’t know what happened after that. I hope one of the cafés was open. Maybe it was a Monday.

Our neighbour told us this story the other day. We can still find them here.

We are new but we are getting less new. I know what days to go to a cafe and and what hours to shop. If you leave out lunchtime it is like any other town but with souvenirs that aspire to greater things.

The only thing is there are no haggis to keep the weeds down. It’s a small thing. But if there were we would certainly raise a few.

We don’t miss anywhere. We are just here. It is very quiet although the birds get noisy.

australian fairy wrens

Photograph: Australian Splendid Fairy Wren, Pinterest

The end of summer

agapanthusIt is the end of summer and I have been in the garden.

Pete has been there the whole time but I have mainly been in. It was scorching hot. I say that like it was out of the ordinary but it wasn’t. It is a scorching land. It is beautiful. It is both at the same time.

When it is not scorching it is probably because it is one of the other seasons.

It was so hot some days I couldn’t take the washing out. I had to wait until about four or five. It didn’t matter. It was so hot it was dry by six. That is Australia – it normally only takes minutes for washing to dry. Then you can wear whatever it is you have washed, sometimes immediately. If I had a different complextion, brown skin or skin that went brown in the sun, I could just sit out there and wait with the clothes, all the while building up my tan.

Then I would get dressed by the washing line. It’s very private here. We don’t need to worry about neighbours. Anyway they all have a nice glow about them, a little bronzed you could say. So they are probably doing the same thing (the same thing that I am not, I am just fantasising) while telling themselves there is no need to worry about me: I won’t see them. I’m indoors until autumn.

But now I am out. They had better put their clothes back on.

The best news is I survived (summer.) I say that like a heroine.

I had all this fear. But like most fear we make up, a touch of reality and it disappears. Boof!

The trick is to know what fear you have made up and what is real. I am a sort of an expert. I have invented so much fear I could fill a book. But usually I don’t choose to write about them because they are mostly nonsense. As opposed to this.

Okay, here is a recent example, so you get the picture:

These days our floor comes alive at night with millipedes. I know, ewww! That’s not even a fear. That is real. Maybe only three or four millipedes, maybe six, but they crawl around on their six million legs and we shake our heads.

We don’t know what to do. So we go into the kitchen, find the dustpan and broom, sweep them up and throw them outside. There they meet up with many, many relatives because outside is crawling with them.

It is to do with the rain, I believe. We have had quite a lot.

But the other reason seems to be about light.

“Turn off all the outside lights” the research advises and I shrug; our house is positioned directly under a street light.

(These are not my fears by the way, these are build up events.)

Regarding the millipedes, Pete has been putting out beer traps for snails for a long time but recently has found millipedes in the brew. (Sorry about using the word brew.)

Two nights ago I thought: why don’t we put beer traps out for the millipedes? On the front porch where there is light?

It seemed like a good idea so we set about it.

The only thing was as soon as I got back into bed I felt terrible. “Poor millipedes. That’s not very nice; we can’t kill them because of an aesthetic …

… I can’t do it.”

When Pete was asleep I went outside to empty the the baits.

Just as I was doing so, I saw a strange, gluggy shape alongside one. It was a slug (ewww!) the biggest I had ever seen, dipping his head in for a drink. A few moments longer and he would have been taking his last swim in a tub of beer.

I grabbed the container and threw the beer into the garden. Then I went back to bed.

But somewhere between the giant slug and climbing back into bed a new fear had been born. And it was this:

What gives us the right to kill snails?

Fair enough – but unresolvable. If you are an aficionado, however, unresolvable is truly the best of fears.

I tossed and turned throughout the night. I knew it was crazy but still. I was stuck.

“Pete” I said in the morning.

“I wish I didn’t have to either” Pete said “but it’s one of those things you have to do if you want a garden. I accept it. It’s the only thing you can do.”

“I know …” I could see the rationale. But when fear takes over it can be very hard to break.

I couldn’t get past good and bad. Killing snails: bad.

I wrote to a friend who lives on the other side of the world.

It took less than seconds. But she was asleep because of the other hemisphere. Still it helped to write. It added hope. It gave perspective.

I sat on the opium bed; meditation, prayer. It is what I always do. I have learned to. The other thing is, I have had to learn to, although I discovered it by accident. It was a lucky day, whenever it was.

In a flash, I saw the part of my mind that gets paralysed with fear, the part that invents it. It’s an old part, very well trained. It looks like a rusty cob.

Then flash: there is no good or bad. They are subjective. They do not exist. There is no perfection, no end point. We mostly just do our best.

Instant relief.

Pete has gone to Byron for a few days, not because of the giant slug. He starts his new job next week so he is taking some proactive R&R, which in that part of the world could mean psychedelic. At least he will get a swim in.

I feel happy. I am here on my own in the end of summer.

Yet I don’t think we ever are.

The days are cooler. I can wander in the garden as much as I like. I was going to write about it earlier but I got distracted. I should get plenty more chances though. The sun is on loan to the north.

Beautiful agapanthus: Pinterest

New header image: Pinterest

Chasing rainbows with jars

f7b7ab63f331c95b81b4c523e6db94ceAnd now I have to find the rest of the story. It’s about time. I mean, isn’t it about time? Whatever.

I wish I could write every day. Every day like I used to. Every two or three. Then it dropped back. So every three or four.

Now it seems like every four weeks. I am sure that could be verified.

Yet my ambition is the same: to write every day. Or every three or four.

There must be a catch. Definitely.

I am drawing together the pieces. Let’s see:

… What do we have here?

Nothing.

Okay, okay, that’s a start. Don’t be put off.

What else? Is there anything else?

Give it time.

Anything?

Nope …

… … … what’s that?

???

It’s … it’s … it looks like a jar.

It’s a jar with a label.

What does it say? Can you read it? Stand closer …

“Rainbows”

Someone must be collecting rainbows.

That’s funny.

That’s extraordinary actually. I wish I could find out who. Then I could ask for instructions.

Then I would pass them on to you! We could all be instructed! There’s nothing like a rainbow jar with a set of instructions.

I’m glad we found this one.

I’ll try and track down the owner. I’ll get back to you.

Hi! Well, I looked. I looked and looked. In stories, everyone does that.

I looked and looked and looked. I searched and searched.

I hollowed out a small branch that had fallen to the ground and made it into a sort of trumpet, a sort of megaphone and I blasted out through the forest: “whoever has left a jar with “rainbows” please come and collect it now!”

I may have been a little forceful or I may have made the trumpet with a bit too much amplification because no one called back.

“Hello?” I called again “is anyone there?”

I waited. I thought it was the right thing to do. It was becoming more and more like a story every minute.

Then there was a rustling, just a faint one, like this: ruussl ruussl ruussl …

I picked up the jar. Wouldn’t you have?

I picked it up and I held it up to the sky. Maybe you would have done something else. But it felt like the right thing to do. And I was improvising.

The rustling got louder. It got louder and louder just like in stories.

I held the jar up as high as it would go which was right at the tip of my hands which are right at the very end of my arms which stretch all the way out on both sides of me. If you try it at home you will probably find, in most cases that is, that yours do too. Some people have wings though because they have lost their arms. The wings are usually invisible so maybe don’t ask for verification as you could embarrass yourself.

As I held the jar high, as high as it would go, the loud rustling noises – which had become like thunder – suddenly stopped and everything went silent. Dead silent. Like a grave.

“Golly” I thought. “That was quite unbelievable.” Which may seem like a strange thing to think but I was starting to feel aghast. Where is all this leading? Perhaps that would have been a better follow up but it was too late. I had already had my thought.

And then … and then

right then

at that moment …

I looked in the jar.

And it was full.

Full of rainbow. A rainbow as bright and as big as I have ever seen which may sound impossible because it was a normal sized jar, quite small actually. But the rainbow inside it was huge, somehow it still spanned the whole sky, right inside that jar.

I know it was a rainbow because it had that sort of half hoop shape and the colours … the colours … they were exactly the colours that you make a wish on, right there in the sky when someone says: “Oh look! A rainbow!” or when you are out shopping and you accidentally see one.

A rainbow. A real rainbow. Right inside that jar right at the end of my hands.

We’ll I didn’t know what to do except the obvious. So I made a wish.

“Please God …” Then I remembered I didn’t need to address it.

“I wish … I wish …” and I screwed up my eyes in the way that gives wishes more power …

And wished.

And because this is a story I can tell you what I wished for.

I wished for it to rain because it has been so dry and the garden is gasping.

I wished for the wind to stop because there seems no point to it and it has been howling for months.

I wished for somehow it to work out for Pete. All his teeth are falling out and the job that he came back for is too. Falling out.

Which means he has dentistry bills but no new teeth that he can buy. Well … he still has (most of) his own teeth but the other part, the part about not being able to afford new ones if all the others did fall out is more or less true. Well … maybe afford but …

I guess what I wished for is that even though we live in the Blue Mountains which is too hot and too dry and too windy ~ that we don’t have to move again because Pete’s work has holes in it like his teeth.

I hope, I wish, that whoever makes rainbows makes one for Pete. And that he sees it.

Or that someone out shopping sees one accidentally (or on purpose) and says to Pete:

“Oh look! A rainbow!”

And that he makes his wish.

I think that’s how it goes. Kind of around.

Beautiful image: EZ Holiday Lights, Austin

House call

Two weeks after we arrive I email my friend. “We’ve looked and looked and there isn’t anything!”

Later I call my mother with the same news. “We’ve looked and looked and there isn’t anything!”

“Don’t you think you need to give it more time?” she asks. “It’s a house.”

“No.”

A week later there is an update.

“We’ve found it!”

“Golly! That was quick!” writes my friend.

“Golly! That was quick!” says my mother.

“Really?” I ask.

When you have nothing to do, nothing else to do, it can happen like that.

Having nothing else to do, or only one thing to do if you are reading the other way, is focusing. Although it has its detractors and is unpopular because most people are busy, if at all possible I highly recommend it; three weeks with only one thing to do is like five years of normal time.

In this case, not having found a house after two weeks felt like twenty years; extra years added for regular boredom. That is the only part of the formula that is random. If you use the formula at home you may get a different result depending on your ability to do things like wait.

When we did find something after days and days, after many days,

nearly twenty –

it felt like the earth had changed its axis and ice was melting after 40,000 years. It was like turning a page on a calendar and arriving in the next millennium.

At last!!!! After all this time!!!! I thought.

To others I explained: “No, it was a whole three weeks.”

Unfortunately my description of it is longer than expected. Out of the whole experience I would say that is the only down side.

Clock strikes nine.

“Oh look at the time …”

Looks.

“Shall we go to bed?”

“Okay.”

Pete is usually first to get under the covers. I know because I always find him there. I did again this night.

I start the climb in; the bed we have erected is huge and seems to have no end. It is a double bed with a single bed on one side and they are pushed together, squeezed, inside a room just small enough. We are making do and this thing is part of it.

“Pete?”

“Yes?”

“I’ve looked and looked and there isn’t anything. I’ve looked everywhere. But I can’t find it. I can’t find our house.”

Pete is patient and believes that if we find our house in the next twelve months we will be doing well. But he loves me and trusts me so he makes it easy.

The days are flying by. “I think we need to ask our house to call us.”

“Okay” he says.

Silence; faint sound of question floating upward, hovering over hill and valley, toward a path blazed by an old star.

The next morning our agent calls. She has made herself ours. Our agent is all things to us: aunt, mother, grandmother. Friend, bestie, bff. Forever companion, always correspondent, constant gardener.

“I’m just calling to see whether you’ve found anything ….” She sounds desperate. She often does. It’s why we can’t hang up on her.

“No, nothing since you called yesterday” but she can’t hear me very well nor I her because there is an electrician in the fuse box of our temporary home who is fixing the wiring and teaching me electronics.

She continues: “… because if you could just go up a little bit more (she means in budget) there’s something …”

Yet the line is so bad and there are too many things happening that we say goodbye with no new understanding of anything except that she will call again in a week which means tomorrow.

But I still have only one thing to do so after the electronics I am back on this looking at everything on her books. Anything that could fit the description she never gave me.

” … if you could just go up a little …”

I see one house I have noticed before but not considered. Now all I notice is a garden.

I schedule a drive by for that moment. With only one thing to do I am always ready.

It looks gorgeous from the street. But I am very bad at decisions so I just stare at it from the car and decide against it.

Luckily the next day I make an appointment.

It is lovely. After a few days Pete sees it too so it is just the three of us. Our agent is nearly always close.

It is so lovely I can only pick faults and decide firmly against it.

But for the next few days I can think of nothing else – even when I am not, I am thinking: the house, the house, like I am under a spell.

I view other properties but it is like walking through mud. My heart is gone. I am like ghost walking through mud viewing other properties.

One day, absolutely sure about not being sure, I go back and stand in the garden.

The sun is bright and peeping out in flashes from behind clouds but it lights the garden like a pro. I walk to the back and stop. In front of me dozens of bees are lazily swarming rosemary hedges the owners have kindly planted.

I sit on a bench the owners have kindly placed under a tree.

A little while later I make a call.

“I’m standing in the garden of our new house” I say and Pete laughs. He always laughs.

“Where are you?” he asks and I tell him.

“I will camp in the back garden. It’s’ beautiful here.”

Later I ask our agent if this was the house she was referring to when she called that day.

“No” she says.

In a language we are not to understand only to respond to, we took a call one morning, bright and early, while the sun was out, a morning after a single question took an old star trail. It went something like this:

Get here before the bees have supped, before the pollen has been spilt, before the flowers have been impregnated to reproduce before your eyes come the spring!

One day I will show you the flowers.

Beautiful image: Spring garden house beautiful wallpaper