Saturday, May 06, 2006

Live roses, dead babies, polystyrene hats

This is not a journal. This is a home made writing experiment. I assume there are no regular readers of this site so I am explaining things to myself. That's not so bad. Life takes some explaining.

Recently I read about someone's grandmother who wrote regular, detailed, keenly observed letters that constantly updated the reader on what was going on in the grandmother's physical world. The person sharing this story said she believed that, through the grandmother's ability to notice, be present in and appreciate the day to day goings on around her, the woman was more able to withstand some fairly horrific or challenging experiences going on in her personal life. There was also the theory that such keen observations are an important tool for the would-be writer to develop. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a stab at such prose and see where it leads me.

I come to this in a sombre mood. The most recent copy of The New Yorker that I have (1 May, 2006)still rests outside on the cane chair where I have abondoned it, along with a scrunched up napkin from the buttery toast I consumed earlier.

A long article in the esteemed magazine chartered the experience of a man and his wife as they faced the news their baby girl - Irene - had died at eight and a half months gestation and would have to be delivered, nonetheless, through a 'traditional' labour. What's the point of sharing these stories? I often ponder this and yet I can never put them down, allowing my head to ache with the pain of holding back tears or sometimes actually sobbing aloud at the tiny - yet gigantic - personal injustice of it all. In some way the author of this particular story also knows that his story is but one drop in the ocean but that that drop could possibly drown him and his wife. As he drives to the doctor's office where his wife has first been given the bad news he hears reports of the Tsunami that devastated the lives of thousands. Villages, entire families will die, lives and landscapes will be changed forever and, still, it does not matter. We are asked to know about and care about so much these days but, when push comes to shove, we know our own pain will shrink the world down to one tiny point, the point where all shit in the local vicinity is hitting our fan.

Anyway - sombre mood.

It's grey outside too but that's not so bad. Some roses are still gritting it out in the backyard. They're a bit brown around their pink edges but I still have hope of cutting them and bringing them inside to decorate a lunch table tomorrow; possibly a bit ambitious. The white impatience on the patio, on the other hand, seems to love the cool, wet weather. I am still a novice gardener and am slow in understanding the rhythm of the plants. At least I've stopped throwing out the ones I thought I'd killed. A number of them, it seems, were just dormant or having a 'spell' and have returned with vigour. I feel bad for the ones who were relegated to the garbage truck.

The cats have stopped shedding. I'm getting used to their patterns too and an investment in a dust buster has helped get around their particularly hairy phases. They've also adjusted their sleeping routines as the temperatures dip. This, of course, means that there is some cold nose-under-the-doona activity in the wee hours of the morning but I am a sucker for their purrs.

The great thing about this time of year is the light. Sometimes the mornings are so bright and shiny it's like they've just been unwrapped from their blue Tiffany box. And the afternoons smell better than any other time of year, although I'll probably find myself saying the same thing in summer. Nevertheless, there's a freshness at the moment that speaks of green grass, fresh soil, rain water and autumn leaves. I am reminded of the days when you used to be allowed to burn leaves in the gutter outside your house. In the place where I was born and lived ‘til I was nine the streets were old and wide and flanked by beautiful old trees. Walking to my older sister's house or going to school I was often entranced by the smell of the leaves burning, the sight of some old fella with a rake in his hand, watching over his smouldering pile. Apparently such burning off as this is bad for the environment. I always found it good for the senses.

My husband just came and stood at the glass doors of this office with a large square of polystyrene on his head. It has a circle and squares expertly cut into it. It protected our new refrigerator in its journey from China to a discount white goods place near my home. He wants to know if he should throw it out or whether I can make a hat for the Spring Racing Carnival out of it. Funny guy huh?


Blogger Dreamweaver said...

Love your style Contessa!

9:25 am  

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