Up Up and away

On our way up… up and away,

This morning after getting up a little earlier, we pressed on to have breakfast. Tea first thing then my favourite Piccolo coffee… and Peter is the best coffee maker I have ever come across. ( of course I had to say that did not I ?) What a delightful brew he makes. Everything studied to a T. The right amount of coffee, the right grind in the grinder, the right amount of milk, the right heat under the little Italian Expresso machine and with all this attention he obtains a super coffee. I must this is my favourite time in the morning. I feel privilege to savour such a lovely made coffee.

The suitcases were ready from last night, the chickens were out early today, the dog was lucky to have a fresh bone before we went and Fripouille the cat also managed to get a big hug and a big feed.

Kylie and Angus arrived on time to pick us. Ready to go… with lots of eagerness we jumped in the car and off to the Station to drove. Arriving there we found out that the train was to be delayed at least an hour due to some road work on the tracks. We started to panic a little, but we had given ourself a good margin. In spite of the longer trip we had plenty of time to spare.

The plane was perfectly on time for a change. Left at 14h on the dot. We should be in Bangkok in good time.

High in the air the topography of this continent is just amazing. Arid, bleached, parched, sparse forests, but more dry that is what it looks like from above. Skies are clear and a deep blue fading to whitish in the far distance. A sort of haze envelops the horizon and everything fades away in a blue hue. The difference is hard to tell between the sky and the earth just at the zenith. It blends and melts. The grounds underneath my feet is just mosaic of rivers, estuaries, low mountains and as we just cross the gulf of Carpentaria, the water shines an uneven blue-green. Tiny boats can be seen down below. But the parched earth underneath makes you really see that Australia is a land of deserts and dry earth. Scare homes even in these remotes parts can be seen peppering the landscape. Just a few nautical miles after the shores of the Gulf, islands upon islands are scattered all around the path of the plane. They can be seen in their entirety or little bits of some and then the plane arrives again onto dry mountainous landscape. Miles upon miles the earth shows us her beauty and her uniqueness. Rugged, dry, rivers winding along it like giant snaked slithering along difficult terrain. Patches of green forests, dry lakes or salt lakes which appeared totally bleached from 10km above its surface.
It is scary and at the same time quite exhilarating to be able to witness such spectacle. But also what a privilege to see the planet from that far above. Of course, I have seen it countless times but it is always awesome to be reminded of your place in the universe.

It is not the first that we cross these magic landscapes, but every time it is an absolute delight to share such a wonderful and unique beauty.

With every mountains, rivers, oceans, cities or villages glittering in the day or night and you are leaving behind you know that you are a little closer to your destination. It is amazing how the world looks so small from the plane high above the in the sky. It is amazing how such an engine loaded with hundred of passengers, cargos and God knows what else can take us so far above the surface of the planet. it never stops to surprise me or enchant me and like a little girl I am ecstatic and truly in awe at modern man capacities, ingenuity, and amazing engineering to be able to make me witness such a kaleidoscopic sceneries.

So here we are in this Boeing 777 transporting us from Brisbane to Bangkok in 8h. All the magic of lying is laid bare at our feet. Just 10 km down. Just incredible! Even though we have made this trip countless time, from the seat on this plane there is always the feeling that the earth is for everyone. There is not a single nation that owns this. Yet, we carve the planet into tiny little pieces representing this country or that. From above for me these distinctions do not exist at all. I do not see pieces of delineated compartments belonging to this group of people or another. I do not see a carved up territory, i do not see races, I do not see colours, I do not see religions, I do not see any of that. I just see just a vast expansion of land, of earth, with its own typical mountain or rivers, with its own typical forests or plains, with its own sea or ocean and the billions of microbes, insects, birds, animals of every shape and sizes in fact the whole spectrum of life on earth all roaming upon it and above all that every human being is sharing.

The problem with human is that we want to possess, to acquire, to say that it is MINE. Just that little bit of paradise is mine. Is it? We fight for it, we kill for it, we conquer, mutilate, assassinate, ,torture, rape and pillage. Or the fun part, we pretend that we are descendent of some Gods and assume the role of King, Prince and all the tittles that go with the charade. We take it so seriously that we prolong this myth for centuries.

I am always amazed that folks actually venerate the queen of one country or another. Watching the news at times makes me cringe. What draw these people to this figure head? Why are they so attracted to some royals? I do think that there is some sort of mystic feeling or envy of the good old days. Days of our childhood where we have been told or read myths and legends, fairy tales and stories and we fantasise about our prince charming coming to take us away into a magic castle and we live happily ever after.

These fantasies are kept live through the press and media in general and revive in us a sort of flame of better times: Ha! the good old days! But in these good old days you could have been a destitute peasant begging his lord for mercy or some slave totally enchained to his master. But obviously, we do not want these sorts of image at all do we? We prefer to continue the myth that all is rosy and that we are neither beggars nor slaves but some knight in shiny armour or some princess being rescued from poverty and marrying a rich prince. Oh boy! Is that why we venerate some how the Kings and Queens of this world and entertain in our petty mind all sorts of totally erroneous images and connections? In other words a total illusion.

Forgetting in the identification of the moment that these royals are leeches on the public purse, parasites, pay no taxes, live in great pump, flicker their hands to wave to the proletariat as if some Gods, oh and please do not touch them…no, they are not humans and to touch them would be blasphemy I suppose.

One day one our prime Minister committed this horror, Prime Minister Keating had the audacity to touch the queen of England in one of her tours. The newspapers were full of it. Outrage burst out and it was a scandal for days on end. Yes, they are some Gods and to even think of touching them would be committing a crime. In the olden days one might be hung I suppose or decapitated. But that is not that bad today. Only the newspaper get outraged on behalf of the ruling class.

And my next question is: who had the audacity and authority suddenly to elevate themselves to some status.? Were not they some highway robbers amassing wealth, conquering, submitting people to their rule? They invented a word or 2 or 3…King, Queen and all the affiliated pompous followers were given some tittle.

What brought me to talk about all that? What distraction? Oh, yes flying over the earth brought about all sorts of connotations in my head. The vastness and the immensity of the earth made me realise how small we are as human in the scale of things. Very small indeed! We are a funny ( not many would laugh tho) race of creatures, I would keep the word funny but I find it not that inappropriate , better say weird, unique, bizarre, great and also so cruel. I guess the two sides of the coin are represented in what we are. The Ying and the Yang. It looks like on this earth everything seems to have an opposite to counterbalance it.

Night approaches as we near Bangkok. Distinct lines rise in the horizon. Pink..fading away fast as night settles in and the rain is lashing at the plane’s windows. The engine is roaring louder and louder,the altitude is almost nil, and what is comforting is that the usual ear pop just did not occur…modern planes are getting better. The wings flaps have started to fold from the main wings, the brakes are out with a great swooosh, just a few bumps and the mass of steel has touched the ground and it feels like the plane is purring down the runway to find its place in the allocated bay. The very last rays of light can be seen so faint and try to peep through, but the night has already engulfed us in a flash as we land into Bangkok sticky and humid air clings to your clothes. But the last sentence is only a reminiscence…been there so many times that I already imagine what it might be like at that time of the day when the door of the mighty Boing open and a blast of warm air invades your lungs.

But Bangkok is already far away as the Airbus transports us over half of the earth to England.

Till next time.

The balustrade is here. So is everything else.

Well, after waiting for more than 3 weeks the new balustrade to be brought in and Peter installed it. He always says” won’t take too long” but with one thing and another not going right it ends up being much longer….much longer than expected. It is done now and the painting is finished. Some more deck planks needed to be replaced as a result of the overall design. Peter has been actively pursuing the finishing touches.

Balustrade

BougainAn array of coloursvillieas in full bloom

We are having lunch on the new veranda almost everyday. It is just exquisite and so holiday like. We do say to ourselves: “Who needs to go anywhere and pay such an enormous amount of money to just enjoy the views of the few cows on the opposite property, or just watch the passing cars, the joggers up and down the country lane, the familiar site of a little red van, the tractor from next door marching slowly to the adjacent house and hearing the voice from John down the path bellowing at his cows or dog. The birds are also much closer and the fact that we are sitting enjoying our lunch or a cup of coffee seems that we are engulfed with a closeness to it all. Of course our little butcher birds which have multiplied to 5 by now are incessantly chirping to demand food. It is never enough.. But, they are always watching for the little cat which might be hidden under a chair or a towel. All these scenes take on a different atmosphere and a sort of closer to home feeling. Yes, the familiarity with it all. A sense of tranquility and security envelopes one. But I do have a slight objection to the word security. Why? because security is only fictitious at this point in time. And above a making of the self.

It is amazing how we do want to possess all of it. The mind goes on incessantly wanting to bring back everything to a narrow frame. A frame that is old, obsolete, of no consequence to the NOW. As we catch ourselves doing just that, there is at the same time a feeling of wanting to possess the moment. In fact not accepting the vastness of what is beyond description. Just because it is beyond it all. How can we just describe this moment of “ISNESS”. No words can come close to it. And yet, that is exactly what the mind wants to do. Describing the impossible. How hard it is to accept just what is. When one is engulfed by this feeling there is no staying with it. Hard for the mind of course. We are so accustomed to wanting to do so, that is how restless it is.
Yet, this feeling of belonging to this totality is very real and present. The whole body-mind is witnessing a moment that is itself in the present and it is the present that the mind does not seem to accept. The reason is simple. Present is not part of it. It knows the future and the past and these are the only referential points that it has. Hence the need to bring it back within its confines. Description, reduction, limitation, appropriation of a sort.

The mind does not accept space or what is. The proof is the encounter with nature. Surrounded by its immensity it becomes speechless for a moment then very quickly tries to describe it. Sitting having lunch in this new setting accompanied by birds, trees, skies, clouds and all the wonders of nature, one is truly ONE with it all and for a brief instant a sort of bliss overwhelms one. Boy! what was that? What did I feel? What happened? Suddenly I had no ME. But instead of accepting it, we rush to the description and trying to rationalise it, to appropriate it. And here we descend into the narrow confines of the mind of reducing this bliss to words.

That in itself is not an issue at all. You might even say normal activity of the mind, it does that, just that. So where is the problem? Well, there is no problem as long as you are aware of that movement and don’t try to erase it or suppress it. The seeing of it is already a freedom and an understanding of how we function as humans.

But most people want to hang on to this moment. Wanting to re-create it, re-live it, possess it, to crystallise it, but it is gone and the next one is never going to be the same. How can we do that? A moment that is passed is passed. Oh yes, we must remember it for ever in our memory. OOPS! Memory, that means in the realm of what is gone. Why is it so hard to accept the present for what it is? We are scared of loosing our identity, our position and our raison d’être. An identity mind you, that is a total fabrication of what everybody has told us for decades, centuries and millennia of what we should be and we believed them so readily. We build a persona entirely on fictitious hearsay…. and we accept it no question asked. Well, we have no choice at the start. But as we mature….if we do, then we could start asking some real questions.

The existence of our life is precious and asking simple questions, observing, contemplating, investigating, pondering and finding out what and who we are is the very purpose of our humanity. So that we can “become” an enriched human being. That would be of benefit to the entire planet….but I am getting carried away.

Till next time.

Wintery day and reflections

Night comes quickly now and by 5pm we are all in and ready for a fire. Humidity falls down rapidly, chill is in the air. Even tho, the sun goes down to the west and shows it luminous last colours of pink, purple and crimson red fading to grey, one can feel that the chill factor is here. Winter descended upon us quite fast this year. Colder already than last year.

Peter and I have decided to get stuck into the garden this wintry afternoon.
Tho, it is cold in the early morning and late evening, the days are at times just glorious when it does not rain too much. A nice 18 to 20 degree is almost the norm. Hence it is a pleasure to spend time out in the garden.

Now that the veranda is finished or almost and we are waiting for the balustrade to be delivered, the garden needs some remodeling. New concept on how to create something different. I am not so good at visualising all these things in the garden. Our dear friend Scott, might drop in later to give some advice, but in the meantime, we have decided to get a rose bed going. Hoping that the wallabies would not get a taste for them. They, apparently love roses and demolish them with gusto. We shall wait and see what happens. A little project that is worth a try as we both adore roses especially the ones with a real rose smell.( That is me)

Polished deck now

Rose bed in progressRose bed coming on.

We worked till late, both tired from a hearty physical workout. Almost forgetting the time when suddenly one feels the cold getting into your bones. time to get in, but not before a last look at what we have done so far. From up the veranda we ponder and admire what we have accomplished so far. Digging these invasive little bulbs that multiply like crazy and picking them out one by one and putting them in a bag heading for destruction.
We both admire the work so far….It does not look too much does it….It will get there… slowly. Tomorrow will be another day in the progression on that rose bed.

While we had a few people for lunch the other day where we entertained the idea of death and it consequences, discussed politics, our way of life, the fate of the world, the drastic consequences of an austere budget, the plight of refugees, the lies of our leaders, and then we delved onto the idea of death some more. A friend said that life and death are part of the same cycle. We all agreed and started to exchange our ideas on this. Referring to our common experience, religions, literature and our personal feelings on the subject. But what would happen if it struck one of us right now? Silence. Well, we’ll get on with it I suppose seems to be the consensus. Were we telling the truth or were we deluding ourselves? Were we putting on a brave face in order to say how strong we were? Were we really avoiding the pain of loss? The answers will be for next time as we decided to meet again and discuss it further over some nice food and wines.

The afternoon went on, drinking some beautiful French wines, followed by coffee and Algerian sweets. Then we all are heading out to the cars. as we exchanged our goodbyes I noticed that one our cows was laying down. It was dead. Four legs up in the air. Consternation all around….Life and death in the raw. Unbelievable said Richard, we were just talking about it. There was a moment of consternation, silence and then we all had to accept it….Life and death come together.

Bianca our youngest heifer was apparently bitten by a brown snake according to our next door neighbour who is a seasoned farmer. How do you know that Ron? Well, says he : “if the wild dogs have not got stuck into her then it is a snake”. Fact or fiction? But he was adamant about it. So far the corpse is still intact in the pit waiting to be cremated.

The week before that we played grand parents. Our friend Magali, a single mother asked us to look after Mereki for a day or two. But Peter and I said, we can have him the full 3 days. She makes crepes and needed some time off for the show. She makes wonderful crepes indeed. And Mardi Grass was a good experience for her. A great adventure for both of us. Finding the time to be with a four-year old all day long and giving him our full attention. Reading him stories, watching a few films at night together in bed. Playing trains. Feeding the dog, the cat, the fish, the chickens, the cows. Cooking pizza. Going for walks and of course Peter took him for a ride on the tractor. Wow! He loved it. A real boys’ adventure!

Pizza made by Mereki
Peter and Mereki

Mardi Grass is a once a year event where people from everywhere around the world and locals of course gather to demand that Hemp be legalised for medicinal purposes and industrial uses. It has been going on for quite a while now. But we seldom attend Peter and I. We have been a few times to watch the parade and the speeches. The police was apparently quite tamed this year. It has seldom been a problem anyway. Peaceful, colourful and fun for everyone. 3 days of fun really.

Well, tonight is very chilly out and Peter just lit a fire. I don’t think that I will have anything for dinner as I am still full from lunch with fish and chips.Not bought mind you but all made here. The chips were just succulent and we really gorged ourselves on them. Calories here we go!

Till next time again

Ipad sleeve

Here I am not a big  fan of crochet clothing ( sorry Carol) but I made a Ipad sleeve during my drive to Melbourne. As the men were driving along, I crochet along. I had to start so many times….Lucky it was 2000 km. I bought some bamboo and cotton yarn at the start. But in retrospect I found this yarn extremely stretchy. I did not follow any patterns. Can’t read them in crochet.

Don’t ask how I did it, but here it is.

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Inspiration on the new deck!

I am here today sitting for the first time outside on the new veranda and new deck that Peter and a friend Benoit have finished building. A completely new outlook over the paddocks and the hills across the valley. Just stunning and so appealing to be sitting here and writing. Truly inspiring.

It is really a totally new experience to sit out among the trees, the bamboos, the flowers and the smell of burning mosquito repellent. (not bad as scent goes) The black and white breasted pigeons are perching on the mighty bamboos and cooing their heart content. The butchers birds are demanding their daily ration of bits of meat. They have arrived and perched on the surrounding trees twittering noisily. The Noisy Minahs are quarreling for space in the grevillias for the last few drops of nectar. The sun is setting down in the west starting to glow and scintillating slightly in between the trees and the breeze is definitely getting cooler but still very agreeable to be out.

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In the meantime the butcher birds are really getting more vociferous as Fripouille the cat (which means brat in English) is stalking them with devouring eyes. But they surely know by now what his intentions are and making a raucous to warn him off. So, Fripouille, sits also among the trees hoping and hoping for a decent bite. But this is not going to happen. Fripouille is now stuck high on the branch and is deliberating how he is going to come down. That is more crucial for the moment.

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The quite largish white breasted pigeons are flapping their mighty wings and trying to find a spot for the night. The cows across the paddock are for ever eating grass. Insatiable creatures. Just munch and munch. They have not come up to the fence today bellowing for an extra feed. That is because, we have cleared a big patch of sweet potatoes early in the afternoon and they had a little feast with it as well as the bamboo culms and small branches that I trimmed. They have pretended to like them, not quite sure about it, but ate them in the end.

The chickens are making their way slowly back to the coop ensuring that they have not forgotten that lonely insect on a twig not far from the entrance and where they will get another scoop of grain before Peter shuts the coop door for the night.

A few swallows are catching the last few flying insects on the wind and the cockatoos calling with their grating screams are surely going to roost at some stage not too far away.

The plovers are starting their nightly call for safer ground and the swamp hen is already on top of the sedge near the dam ready to settle down. And I almost forgot Elsie our faithful Labrador that has just arrived and sits by my feet looking forlorn: “Dinner time boss, I am getting hungry you know, it has been a long day”. Well, how can I resist that look? Won’t be too long, I almost finished writing this paragraph and your bowl will be full shortly. So, her head goes down for now… maybe she understood. Well, she surely saw that I was not in a hurry to move right away.

Pink Datura

As it is definitely getting cooler, I am going inside to light a fire for the night, and Peter will starting to cook the salmon with our first batch freshly harvested of sweet red potatoes just a few hours ago.That is the first time that we managed to grow them properly and they were quite large. I was so excited about it that I rang our friend who actually told us how to do it properly. He was elated that we finally managed to grow them and enjoying eating them.

The sun has now vanished and the ski is clear . That breeze is definitely much colder and it is about time I packed up and move inside where it is warm and cozy.

Till next time.

REJECTION. One insight.

Today I decided to put pen to paper to recall a very interesting (maybe) event and moments that occurred in 2007. Where to start ? It might be hard to bring all these to surface again, but I am pretty positive that something might come out of it. Well, the positive element is already here, otherwise I would not be writing it. Let’s try it and see what happens as I unfold the story.

In March 2007, my father, a very important persona in the way he shaped my thinking and my life reached the decision to cut all bridges to our relationship to both of us. My husband and I. Countless discussions and discourses took place reflecting on different aspects of the inner workings of what we are. My father was not an “educated” man, just an ordinary man that could comprehend the machinations of the mind and their ramifications in our life and society.

A call in the early March 2007 took me by utter surprise. Yes, the element of disbelief was enormous.

“No more conversations, no more phone calls, no more getting in touch.” “you are up yourself, selfish and know it all, wallowing in self indulgence, wasting time and being unconscious of your acts and attitude” He said.

Words failed me utterly. I had no response to this onslaught on his part. I was stunned , deeply hurt, flutters in my stomach played havoc, I felt that I was going to be sick and my throat was drying up fast. The only response that I gave was : “what about mum, how I am going to find out how she is” She had been unwell for the last few years. “ don’t you worry about all this, well, goodbye”.

I was left totally not only speechless but a sense of gloom and doom enveloped me. Anger surfaced pretty fast and I started to justify my attitude and my position. My image was totally destroyed. Questions emerged. What did I do to them? Why is he so callous? Who does he think he is to rebuff me in such way? He is an arrogant man, wanting to be always right. And it went on and on like that trying to find gaps in his thinking and attitude which I attributed to him getting too old and may be going senile….That was so far from the truth as I realised later

For days I was trying to justify, to substantiate where I had been wrong. What events lead him to take such a dramatic position towards me? What warranted such an outburst from him? Stories of endless justifications lasted for weeks. Unable to sort it out. So, I decided to write to him since he would not let me renew any forms of relationship. I wrote pages and pages, discussed it at length with the boys and my husband. In the end I could not come to sending him the letter and pages that I had painstakingly written.

I remained silent, deeply hurt , confused, puzzled, and flummoxed with no resolution in sight. Then we left for Bangkok for 4 weeks where we met with our son who was at this stage on a posting in Hanoi, but flew to be with us. We churned the same stuff over and over again as I was trying to find solace and confirmation of my attitude and position. To no avail of course. I was on the wrong track… maybe.

Then, still disconcerted and not being able to come to any solution as to what I could do, my mother rang me one early morning in July just 3 months after this saga and told me that dad had passed away suddenly that very morning at 6 AM. Fear enveloped me totally. I was again in disarray.

We packed our bags and left for Melbourne as fast as we could. I shall pass on this period as it was again a moment of deep pain, emotional suffering, stress, anguish, bitterness and distress for everyone present. I might recount it another time.

After deep reflection and introspection in this whole matter, I finally realised (maybe) the point my father was trying to make. In his wisdom, that is what he decided to do: to pierce the abscess of what he saw being my most fundamental problem. When I say ‘mine” I also mean the issue that is plaguing most of us. Let me try to explain finally further the point of the title of this writing.

Rejection. Fear of not being accepted by our family, peers and friends. Not belonging or being seen as not belonging. Always wanting to please anyone in order to look good and nice and safeguard our image. How is the writing above going to illustrate this?

As we grow up and start being part of society the most important thing is to feel wanted and included. Normal. Then, an event occurs…the arrival of a sibling for instance, then we start feeling left out. We are going to make sure that we are always in the forefront just in case we have lost this number one spot. That is only one aspect of it. There are countless examples that we can dwell on to illustrate this. A friend dropping you for another, we dress to hide a little fat on the belly…so that we still feel ok, we put make up on so that we feel beautiful just in case also we are told we are not…and on it goes. Many of our acts in life are to enhance our image, our position, our sense of worth and our importance. If something goes against any of that we feel cheated and can easily be depressed and we start playing “catch up “with other things. Compensating. Yes, that trip to Bangkok, wanting to be away and “forget”. Of course this was not going to resolve the issue.

What my father had done was to confront me with my self importance and go to the bottom of my attitude of seeing myself as being rejected. In his rejection there was in fact a deep sense of care and love. He wanted me to face this issue with all the force of rejection. Powerful. Confront myself. What I did and  what my attitude showed was the opposite. Exactly the opposite. I looked for justifications, belittled him, poured scorn on him, and in my blindness I rejected his premise. A fool’s attitude in fact. I was so taken  by sense of righteousness that I missed the point, hence missed the lesson at the time. I was not prepared nor was I ready to see my own game.

If I had confronted my deep sense of rejection I would have thanked him for his action. But no, I did not see it. How can you even start seeing anything if you are obsessed with yourself all the time and want to show daddy how great you are, how good you are, how caring you are, then, you are not seeing what is truly motivating you, what is propelling you, and what is really driving you.

Yet, he saw it and moved on it. How profound that is when you reflect on your actions. When you start seeing your actions….always with the aim to please or not loose face or look good at all times. He did not want to be pleased. He wanted me to understand. How liberating that is when you see that his motives were pure, loving and warmhearted. He rejected me in order for me see through the pain and the pantomime that I was inflicting on myself. In this rejection, he also hurt himself. Severing ties with his daughter in order to achieve a greater outcome for “me”. Not only for “me” but for the advancement and understanding of what we are, and to decipher the inner workings of the human beings. He had this question at one stage for us : “how do you see you children, as human beings or as children?” The reply was difficult to give. I wonder what reply I really gave. If my memory does not falter I think, I said it was a hard one to come to terms with..maybe both I said…Children and humans. But now can I really say that?

Now I understand how he saw “me”. And Only now, can I say to him thank you with all my heart!

Till next time.