APAD 30: Leaving Home

Leaving Home
garden gnomes and paintings
heating unit and air con
dishwasher and stove
her parents built this house
she was born here
grew up here
nursed her mum here
time for a fresh, fresh start
in a new house
with hilly views
and a small garden
she’ll miss the park
the knowing it all
she’ll not miss the next-door
early morning loudcar
she’ll close the driveway gates
one last time
drive away in her new car
to her new life and her plan
never to look back

APAD 29: Going Bush

Going Bush
Heading out west with my Akubra hat
where no highrisers lean on the road
no buses, no trains, no bikes
just me a-wandering on
I’m taking the emptiest highway
past the spit-spat of houses
and cossets of trees
at the end of frayed ribbon tracks
golden-stubbled emptiness
sheep-dotted, cow-pocked
bound by sad-sagging fences
down-beaten by emus and roos
the world’s your oyster out here
though your oyster looks drier each year
your hat does duty as flyswat
and there’s nothing much wrong with that

APAD 28 : How Not to Fall off a Cloud

How Not to Fall off a Cloud
Choose your cloud wisely.
some will fight with any other who wanders close enough.
It may be electric.
Tread lightly.
Clouds are fragile
and heavy boots may break them.
Pace your stargazing.
Watching stars move across the sky
may make you dizzy.
Keep your parties gentle.
Wild dancing is best done
on solid ground.

APAD 27: Maritime

After you kick off from shore
swim into deep water
don your mask and snorkel
adjust it
if your mask fogs –
spit in it, rinse
then relax 
The in-air world is gone
the undersea waits
to share treasures 
some shout for your attention
others take time
If you listen carefully
if the water is clear
you might hear the sound of sand
tiny chimes twinking
the rhythm of ebb and flow

APAD 26: Ghost Signs

Ghost Signs
On side walls and above awnings
they entice you to share a pot of tea
offer outwear and underwear
spruik their fresh cuts
boast the best beer
promise to paint and decorate your home
They are letters from long ago
fading whispers
from yesterday

Sky Diver

About a year ago, I made a mistake. I mentioned that I’d considered doing a sky dive. There was another part to that sentence that went something along the lines of … but I’m not sure I’m game … yano … it was a passing thought, not a commitment. 
The mistake? Opening my mouth when my darling daughter-in-law was listening. Unlike my wonderful sons, she didn’t let that comment slide into forgotten territory. 
Oh, no. She organised a gift sky dive. 

 I spent much of the year tentatively (ie in my head only) scheduling the jump and then recanting because it wasn’t sensible to book it before Book Week. Or our overseas holiday. Or …
You get the picture.
Then over Christmas we caught up with my cousin and his family. And he was so excited for me, that I realised I needed to reframe the anticipation.
No longer would I think about the injuries I might sustain. Now I would think about what a thrill it would be. I made the booking the following day.

This is what it looks like from below: tiny specks gradually emerging from the blue. 
But from where I was? 
I sat on the edge of the plane, feet outside and tucked under and then dropped. Free fall from 15000 feet. 
And it was totally thrilling. The world looked so blue, so neatly patterned. The sea was as bright as the sky. And I was weightless in it. Jumping tandem meant I could leave all the decisions to Jason, and just enjoy it.
And when he pulled the chute and we slowed to hang in the sky, gently turning this way and that, time seemed to almost stop.

I don’t really need to tell you how I feel – look at that smile! That’s how it was. Then and for the next hours.

We detoured on our way home to visit Breamlea Beach, where a budding engineer had build the largest channel and dam I’d ever seen on sand.

Or maybe it was that everything in my post-jump world was just bigger and brighter than it had been.

APAD 24: Diving

Clip harness here here and here
practice take-off and landing
reverse sardine into plane belly
up, up and away
lift the rolladoor
one two three divers
shuffle to the edge of the cabin
tuck feet outside under the plane
face down
then float this way and that
to runway touch down
Adjust face mask
attach snorkel
sit on the slippery stairs
pull on fins
push off into cool bay waters
face down
stars sparkle
a green fish freezes
pretends to be seaweed
a toadfish hovers
oblivious or unconcerned
school groups pass
abalone reach beyond their shells
while maintaining rock anchors
sand tinkles
skin cools
back to earth
Above the earth
below the water
face down 

APAD 23: Progress

They built canals
dug through fields and stone
peat and grassland
inland, inland
to carry lumber in
to carry food crops out
so the ships that brought the lumber
might carry produce aplenty  
years it took, years
dig, dig, dig
Elsewhere others dug dug dug
laying steel across cut logs
so that chug chug chug
engines could pull more
and faster
than a canal boat ever could
canals and railroads 
on a famished land