Thunder split the air. I saw my friend’s neck whip around as he followed the sound. Then water began to pour from the heavens and he stood up, took off his shirt and ran out into it. We were at a psychology talk. The facilitator pointed to where my friend stood in the pelting rain. “If you want to see id in action,” she said, “just look outside.”
He was letting everything wash off him, all the stress of this crazy summer. People expressed concern that he’d be struck by lightning. “Yes,” I thought, “but he’ll die happy.” Eventually someone went to bring him in. He was soaked of course, but the look on his face was pure enjoyment. “I wish I’d gone out to join him,” someone said.
Since I last wrote, the rain has changed everything. The grass is green for the first time in almost two years. I keep doing a double-take when I look out of the window. I can’t quite believe what I’m seeing. Dead shrubs that I cut back to nothing have regrown. One of them even has a flower on it. The fire is still burning in the national park, and the burnt hills look as though they’ve been buzz cut, but regrowth is following in its wake. It’s astonishing and humbling and a great relief.
I’ve spent most of January and February in TooBusyLand. This is not a place I like to be. Hopefully I’m now on the road out of it and back into Balanceville. In the meantime, I’ve been collecting little enjoyables along the way to keep me sane. Here are some of them:
- Clothing designer Karen Arthur, for her style, her honesty and this video.
- Ludovico Einaudi’s Seven Days Walking. The Guardian hated it. The Adelaide Review loved it. You can make up your own mind. I’ve listened to albums 1 to 5 so far. I’ve used it so often to drown out noise at work when I need to concentrate that now I hear it in my head as soon as I sit at my desk. I find album 5 brain-clearing and at times joy-making.
- An uplifting article on classical music and diversity from Reasons to be cheerful, which is a good news kind of newsletter and much more enjoyable to read than the daily paper.
- Some wise words from Claudia.
- Anne Enright’s The Green Road. The poetry of it! How she can write so deftly, so convincingly from the male and female point of view. How it cracks your heart open at the end. Don’t go and read a review. Just read the book and sink into every sentence.
- Brett Monroe Garner, a photographer for National Geographic, for his stunning underwater photos of puppy-like seals and hauntingly lovely jellyfish. He’s possibly one of the few people who can make a shark look attractive.
- Ceramicist Hessa Al Ajmani from the United Arab Emirates, for her pretty cups and plates embossed with local wildflowers.
- Coffee and woodsmoke, for Kristin’s inspiring views (in words and pictures) of the Montana landscape, and for her recipes. I tell myself that I will soon give up sugar for good, then I see her recipe for maple peanut butter fudge and I know I’m kidding.
Another enjoyable is natural dyeing with Rebecca Desnos. I’m getting her book for my birthday and I very much want to read her Plants are Magic magazine. I experimented this weekend with some non-natural dyeing. It’s hard to find women’s t-shirts, in natural fibres, that are long enough to wear to dance class. Showing the midriff was okay in the eighties but Madonna-style doesn’t look good these days. I found long, plain white organic cotton t-shirts in the men’s section, so I bought a couple and decided to dye them. Men’s clothing is often much better quality than women’s. Why is this? Often I brush my hand against the hot, itchy, nasty nylon summer dresses in the shops and think that some designers must hate women.
I went the full hippie and tie-dyed the t-shirts with rubber bands. Here’s what I learned: Rit blue dye goes EVERYWHERE. If you don’t wipe up the splashes immediately, they’ll be sticking around for a while. Wear rubber gloves unless you have always wanted blue hands. You need a bigger space to dye in than you think. Next time I’m doing it outside. Dylon pink dye is easier to work with, cleans up better and uses much less water.
In other enjoyables, this weekend I’ve planted dill, coriander and rocket in pots. I hope that these are flavours which possums find disagreeable. I have plans to restart the vegetable garden proper but not until I have the time to build a possum-proof structure around it.
I’m re-reading Brigid Lowry’s Still Life with Teapot and am enjoying it just as much the second time around. One of her creative suggestions is to think of movie titles and replace one word with “bacon”. I spent an enjoyable few minutes coming up with these:
- The Sound of Bacon
- The Bacon, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Bacon II
- It’s a Wonderful Bacon
- The Wizard of Bacon
- Gone With the Bacon
Snort! Tell me yours. We could have a lot of fun with this. Have an enjoyable week!