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
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
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
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.
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.
After you kick off from shore
swim into deep water
don your mask and snorkel
if your mask fogs –
spit in it, rinse
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
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
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.