Showing posts from October, 2019


Tomorrow will be Beltane night. This time I’ll arrange to be out when little Aussie trick-or-treaters trailed by their mums and dads pour onto the streets, colourful costumes bizarre in the strong daylight of a warm Spring evening.
They don’t know it isn’t really Halloween here. They think that’s a calendar date not a season. And they never heard of old, cold Samhain, when the dead may return as the veil grows thin.... (Who turned it into Halloween? Oh yes, of course – churches.)
On Beltane night, tomorrow, I’ll get back after dark when the baby ghosts and monsters are safely home in bed. I’ll bathe. I’ll cast a circle. There will be water, salt, candles, a special crystal, and rose oil, the perfume of love.
Bodily lovers being past or dead, I’ll gaze at my own face in the mirror and speak to myself the words of a ritual blessing, bringing in love for me, then love for my friends, love for the Goddess and the God, love for all creation, love of Life.
Beautiful world, I will not forget you, even when the work …

Old pine (tanka)

Public domain. Japanese Two-Panel Screen, Old Pine and Moon(artist unknown.)Late 17th-Early 18th Century. 

old pine leans on the wind hill slants away they cup the full moon gold light spills past them

Moving Through This Change

Moving Through This Change
‘How are you?’ people ask in tender concern. I say I’m in a weird space. Some, who don’t know me well, ask further.
‘Was she a confidante?’ I nod. ‘Is there someone else in your circle of acquaintances you could make a friend of?’
I stare. She repeats the question. I tell her I have good friends.
Or, ‘What will you do with yourself now?’ I laugh, and list my weekly schedule.
The ones who know me better just hug.
After the memorial service, some of us went back to her house. I never have to do this again, I thought, as we navigated the long, stony driveway, the landlord’s barking dogs running at our wheels. But I took several photos of her elderflower tree, in full new bloom.
The little butcher bird didn’t come knocking at her window, not once. I was glad to know he’d got my message and wouldn’t be desperately searching.
I collected the box the family were told must come to me: magical pieces she’d crafted – some incomplete, but all usable. I found written descriptio…

Getting Through It

Getting Through It
Adam and I shop for lunch. I told him I could make us an omelette but he said, ‘No no, don’t use your food.’ (My sons like to spoil me when they come as guests to my house.)
We bring the shopping back home and he makes us sandwiches of sourdough bread, tomatoes, roast beef, avocado and curly lettuce. They are fresh and good.
Then we get up and go on the long drive to Nimbin, to Letitia’s memorial service – our not daughter, not sister by blood or marriage, but who was.
There, I drink lemon, lime and bitters. Must stay sober to make my speech. He has two beers only. He’s driving. We hug a lot of people, blink back tears, hardly touch the refreshments afterwards.
(Our girl was a foodie, and a chef. She used to love to feed us up, to cook unusual dishes, foreign cuisine. Left to ourselves, Adam and I tend to like wholesome, simple food.)
Home again at last, that night, we devour my home-made soup with more of the sourdough and later, just before bed, enjoy a taste of the special gelato I bought.
We …


I can’t recapture those moments, but I was with you then. I can’t bring back here that same intensity of words, immediacy of action, rush of emotion or thought. It won’t come back new no matter how well I summon over and over every detail, no matter how precisely I recall. It’s all only play-acting, telling myself stories about times that are lost, people (ourselves) who are gone. But I was with you then, we had those moments, and when I was in them I was in them – ‘fully present’, as they say. You didn’t allow for anything less. I can be grateful for that. I can keep the knowledge of what you gave me in those moments of your own focused attention. But that’s all. There won’t be more. That’s what being dead means – and I’m still more than a little bit cross with you, but you aren’t there to tell. The many things, the many daily, everyday things I would have saved to tell you, go nowhere now: stillborn. So I have to move on.

Decided NOT to read this at her memorial service and bring everyone further dow…

A Departure [prose]

A Departure
October comes: mid-Spring (ironic!). My friend goes – unexpectedly. She constantly worked at self-healing. Although in great pain, given one year to live she lived seven.
There were dialysis and prescribed medications. Also she communicated closely with her body to know what foods were best at any time. When she Googled the food, it always turned out to have properties she needed right then.
Her feet swelled, and for a long time were numb. She had her carers massage them, bending ankles and toes back, forward and in circles, gradually increasing the range of movement. Lately she was feeling her feet again, and feeling them connect with the floor as she moved around with her wheely-walker.
She spent hours each day, herself, massaging thymus, coccyx, lymph glands.
‘This is real,’ she said. ‘We’re bodies. We have to do the work.’
She also said, a week ago, ‘I’m at the end of my tether.’ So perhaps it shouldn’t have been a shock.

It was, though.

She thought she was nearly finished t…