I’m back… I wrote the following in January this year, but left it unposted:
Sitting out on the deck in the late afternoon, the cicadas starting their great chorus and the white cockatoos screeching over the lake, I had plenty of ideas for getting the blog going again. Now I’m at the computer – what?
Several months on since writing, much has happened. I’ve decided I’m not a writer’s bootlace. I’ve traded for years on calling myself a writer, but aside from poems, the occasional short story, and buckets of journalling, the BOOK eludes me. Or maybe I avoid it… I faced the reality that I’m not a writer: I’m a householder. It’s a good life, but not a writer’s life. Thinking back to the grandiose plans I had, it’s embarrassing – but OK.
I’ve found, am finding especially lately, that whatever plans I make usually have to change. This is particularly apparent when it comes to writing. The wonderful schedules I made for fitting serious writing into my days looked great on paper, and I found them impossible to implement. I sabotaged the neat pattern, or events did: one cannot force creativity.
It’s a relief to cast the shoulds from the shoulders. There was plenty of angst on my part about not actually getting on with the work, not yet producing even one of the several life stories I have to tell. They’re interesting stories, and I often tell them verbally – and maybe that’s enough.
And yet, and yet: what is really worth doing in this life? One of my stories is still unfolding, which is about what it’s like having a daughter who’s lived in Indonesia for the last 14 years. (The answer is, it’s pretty amazing! But I missed her too.) Around last August I decided that I’d go and spend several months with her and the Indonesian family and get on with writing that story. I’d be away from the responsibilities and distractions of the householder. On other long visits there, perhaps because of those conditions, I’d found I could write, and nothing pleases me more. And then, dear reader, she decided to see if she could find a job in Australia, and she did, and I’m going to join her in a couple of weeks.
So: I’m leaving home. And that’s what I thought to write about when I sat on the deck: the decision to leave my vegie garden (a rampant mess of weeds at the moment); the tree outside the bathroom with its deep red leaves, lush against the greens of summer; the snail vine on the railing with its convoluted flowers; the waterhens on the lake; the friends calling in; my solitude…and I don’t know if I’ll be back, except for visits.
I had to have my old cat put to sleep on Christmas Eve, and though we’ve had many a spat, we’d reached a comfortable agreement. It felt like I was burying an aspect of myself and I howled as I haven’t howled for decades. Change is inevitable; it’s the only constant we have, and I believe it’s better to be creatively in control of change rather than have it hit you like an express train (which of course it still can). The old cat dying, a big dead tree gently crashing to the ground one evening, and the breakage of a beautiful white glass tear-shaped lightshade I used to put over a tea-light, all seemed to signify how this stage of my life is going.
I don’t particularly believe in signs – or at least I don’t run my life by them – but I chose to see these things as correlational with the need to make room for the new.
Now, on February 24, I’ve been in Cairns six weeks. I’m still in shock at the massive changes in my life, after ten years in the most idyllic spot. Where I’m living in Cairns is pretty nice too but it’s on a street, in a house with locks on the doors and security screens on the windows, air-conditioning and ceiling fans, a dishwasher…I begin to see why people’s eyes glazed over when they visited my place.
I now live with daughter and two granddaughters (8 and 13), I don’t at this stage have my car, or most of my belongings. I miss rainwater and the whipbirds, my books, rain on the lake, my kitchen, and my friends. A few times I’ve wanted to bolt back home – but I feel I’m in the right place, for the time being anyway.
And I love the butterflies – the Ulysses butterflies!
rain loud on the roof
the butterflies fold their wings
grateful for the trees