There was soft scratching in the eaves. It was a butcherbird having insects for breakfast. When I flung open the curtains, he flew down and observed me from the verandah rail. “Hello you,” I said. Butcherbirds are a pleasant shape. I like their markings and the confident way they look at you. It’s comforting to commune, just for a few moments, with a wild and free thing.
It occurs to me that we are wild and free things too, and the oddness of being human is that we often forget it. Or we remember it at times when we feel trapped, and our frustration makes an even bigger trap for us.
I’ve been feeling the narrowness of life lately and have spent a lot of time worrying away at questions in my mind. Of course, the best thing to do is to step back and leave them alone for a while. The jigsaw pieces will, I think, slot into place, given time. It doesn’t help to force them.
I’ve just finished reading Any Ordinary Day, by Leigh Sales. I avoided it when it first came out, couldn’t read about other people’s grief when I was deep in my own. It’s a good read, though, if a tad matter of fact, but she is a journalist so I suppose that’s to be expected.
Something she said about the value of ordinary days stayed with me. I’ve been wondering this fortnight whether I’d write a blog post. All I’ve done is work a lot, eat (also a lot), exercise a bit and stare out of the window. But I do appreciate the rhythm of these days. It’s brought some comfort.
The mornings are often foggy now. They seem almost to give permission to stay indoors in big jumpers and baggy pants. I look at my usual work clothes with surprise. Why did I ever wear anything so uncomfortable?
The sky is the loveliest pastel yellow most evenings after the sun sinks into the hills. It’s usually viewed from the sofa with a comforting cup of tea.
I’ve bought impossibly soft pale pink merino and have started making the mammoth poncho. It is veeery slow going. I anticipate finishing by winter 2022. But the softness of the wool as I wind it around the hook is lovely.
I’ve spent time this weekend doing some brain clearing via meditative tasks, slow exercise and writing things down. One little brain-clearer that I particularly liked was this: write down a noun for each letter of the alphabet. Do it fast and write the first word that comes into your head. Don’t give it too much thought. The only rule is that it has to be a noun.
Here’s what came out of my head the first time:
Apple, blowfish, corduroy, depth, eglantine, fortress, gurney, horse, igloo, jockey, kangaroo, loom, manse, nerine, octopus, panther, quisling, rhomboid, sentinel, trousers, upland, viper, wind, xylophone, yellow, zoo.
This exercise is so effective because it immediately cuts you off from whatever you were thinking (or overthinking) about before. It’s amusing and intriguing to see the words your brain throws up (quisling?! eglantine?! panther?!). The second time I tried it, all my nouns were animals except umbrella.
From next weekend we can travel into New South Wales. The invisible gate is opening. A friend and I are heading off to the Riverina to visit another friend. We’re going to stay in a minty green cottage and eat cheese from a community-owned cheese maker.
We’ll drive past hectares and hectares of sheep paddocks, wheat and canola, all under a big sky, and I cannot wait. It’s only three hours up the road and I’m more excited than when I went to Iceland.
Until then, I expect it’ll be another week much like the last, with as many small, pleasant moments as I can squeeze in or stop to notice. I hope you’re doing well and finding some comfort. Have a good week.