Well, hello there.
There have been a few changes here, as I’ve had a bit of a reno.* I’ve decided to stay put with WP – just for now. I’m in rather a state of limbo with it all. But other options were proving to be far too time-consuming, and involved much hair-pulling, especially when it came to my domain name. And I have so many other things on right now. So. Enough.
Anyway. It’s been an incredibly busy, as well as an unsettling week. But now there is calm. I treated myself to a long bath, followed by sundry aromatic unguents, and now contentedly dazed, I sit here with my licorice root tea, listening to the rain on the roof, with a pile of books at my elbow. Piggy in the mud, essentially.
On Tuesday, I had to play Death’s midwife to a dying rhododendron, which left me a bit teary. It’s a hard task having to take a tree apart. To end its suffering. I did not do it lightly, and for the better part of a year I’ve tried to nurse that rhodo back to health. But the stresses it’s faced with dry heat and no rain, then humidity, alternating with monsoon-like rain after weeks of dry weather, have been too much for the grand old dame. However much careful watering, feeding and coaxing, it was telling me that it was dying. Most likely of a fungal disease.
In the end I had to take my tree saw, and cut it to the ground. It was hard, hard work, (I don’t own a chainsaw, which is possibly a blessing upon all of humankind), for despite the porous branches, it was an old and well-established tree. My arms were shaking by the end of it – as much with the trauma of it all as with the effort. If that sounds odd, or melodramatic, then all I can say is, if you love trees, and spend time with them, you know the spirit and intelligence that dwells within. It’s a terrible thing when a tree dies. And I felt grief, and not a little guilt.
The optimist in me is hoping that it may have the chance to regenerate, but I just don’t know. The ground around which the tree lived is now achingly bare and bleak. I’ve possibly over-compensated by planting an elderberry tree there, (because I love them, and its rampant impulse will be contained by brick paving on one side, and Frankenstein’s potting shed on t’other); along with a small hedge of lavender cuttings, a virginia creeper, some pineapple sage, wormwood, and hydrangeas. See what I mean by over-compensating?
And all I can do is trust that Spring will come. Gardening is possibly one of the greatest trust-building exercises that exists.
And that same night we headed to Hamer Hall in the city, to watch the Moon-girl perform on her saxophone with the rest of her band members. I don’t usually write here of my out-and-about’s, beyond my cottage. But this was an epic evening, and the Moon was completely in her element, loving every minute of the day, from the sound-checks, to knocking around ACMI with her friends, (one of her favourite childhood haunts); and even the bad pizza she ate at a food court.
I had an odd moment when we were heading into the performance. We (the Bloke and myself) were running slightly close to late because finding a sodding park in this city is now becoming a post-industrial nightmare. As we headed into the bowels of Hamer Hall, along with all the other eleventy billion people who had come to see their children play music, we headed past a bar. The Bloke said to me, “after all that parking malarky, I’m going to take a beer in with me”. So I said, distractedly, trying to find out door, “sure, but make it quick”. However, due to the teeming hordes, he didn’t hear me at all, and asked “what did you say?”
“I said, make it quick!”, rather loudly, and therefore possibly sharpish too, which I never intended.
The bar-tender gave me the most admonishing and filthy look possible. As though I was the cruelest, most evil shrew that walked the earth, trying to deny her man a beer. Mon. Effing. Dieu.
And then he proceeded to ignore me completely when we were being served. And despite myself, and the pettiness of his behaviour, I shrank inside at that oh-so-familiar sense of being completely misunderstood and dismissed. And old wounds itched.
But you know, as wonderful a place as the Arts Centre is, and as rude and arrogant (ironically) as that bartender was to me, he must deal with some of the most obnoxious, and entitled behaviour. Because sadly, there are an awful lot of Airs, not just arias; and it’s all very earnest at times, with people Going to See Art. I think this is a bit of an Australian thing, (it’s certainly not my experience of Europe where art is just running through the fabric of the everyday, rather than something the (largely) privileged go to pretentiously consume); because there still exists a great big intellectual chip on the cultural shoulder.
We often think things have changed, and in some ways of course they have; but in other ways, we’ve become even more anti-intellectual than ever. And art is supposed to be created and exist in a vacuum – if the gutting of Arts funding, and slashing of arts journalism and media is anything to go by.
Anyway, as for that bartender, I wonder whether he would have taken it upon himself to “teach” me how to behave if I’d been male. Because…I hope I don’t have to explain.
But I was wobbly from my tree-murdering, from the crush of crowds and the anxiety this produces in me, (give me dizzying heights any day over crowds); and from local tragedies that have unfolded here, very close to home, over the past week. Funny how one trivial incident can make you feel low, even when you know it’s not really even about that.
Yet that wasn’t the prevailing mood of the evening by any means. It was so lovely to see our girl doing what she loves doing so much with good friends, and so many children playing music with such joy and focus. It was equally lovely to return home to this place of kindness, where the forest is an embrace, and the rain and a lonely owl are night music.
And the next few weeks are looking packed, with birthdays, work, gigs, possibly seeing Dita Von Teese’s forthcoming show at the forum, as well as attend book gatherings. Book. Gatherings
Guess which I’m most excited about?
Cheerio for now, luvs. xx
*That’s Australian for “renovation”.