Friday, December 25, 2015

Tropical Christmas (with Kitten)

The heat and too many late nights (damn, Father Christmas has late hours) has sapped my words, but here are some photos from Christmas. The kids spent most of the time in the paddling pool, or playing with super-soakers. (Otherwise known as ' water guns' but I'm trying to remove the word before school starts back, Adventure Boy being somewhat obsessed with guns, battles, battlefields and war in general at present. I have found his teachers less that impressed with his intricate drawings of well armed battleships.) 

Adventure Boy received a kitten from Father Christmas, (lessons in gentleness and responsibility) and the little mite has been cuddled and held and carried about ever since. We have hopes that Wolfie and Tiger-kit will form a truce. Soon. Wolfie is willing but Tiger-kit on seeing the great, white looming monster, curiously sniffing, immediately hisses and spits, and Wolfie does not think this is appropriate behaviour, from one who is, until proven otherwise, a guest. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Different Language (written last week, sans internet)

My phone is out of credit and charge, and the sound of the sea is loud in my ears, a gentle lulling on the shore. This week we have spent down by the shore, and I’ve been thinking of what a different language it is.

Tidal, rock pool, fish, wave, low-tide, blue ringed  octopus, crab, snake, light-star, maelaluka, sandcastle, welcome swallow, gull, coastal, south-westerly, mist, horizon, wave crest. toadie, sunrise, ripples, flotsam, tern, white faced heron, hooded plover, cuttlefish, mermaid’s necklace, stingray, barnacle, periwinkle.

We swam today, and I strode out with my babe on my hip and my boy lunging in front, and as the waves broke around my waist, there was a whole set of waves before me, caught as green glass in the light of the sun, full of dozens of grey fish the length of my forearm. And the next set, and the set after that, were all full of the same grey fish. There was a shoal of hundreds of fish just before us, cresting in on the waves, then turning back, for they never came nearer to us.

The currents of the water changed from warm to cool and back again, and the colours changed too, greens and blues, deeps and pales, jades, emeralds, sapphire and turquoise and in moments of still the water was so clear we could see the play of light on the sand around our feet.

My babe gave her wicked-witch cackle, the one signalling world-domination is on the agenda, as I lowered us into the water and we eased over the unbroken waves, my boy looked in delight at the many fish caught in the sun’s light, the water’s hold.

This week charged, internet, email, data, netflix, spotify, facebook, have all been put on hold. My internet connection has been patchy, the kids have had to ask their grandparents for the odd sighting of Emma, from the Wiggles, the babe’s first TV craze.

We’ve walked into the nearest town – my dad saw a snake. I have spent hours, and hours, stalking small fish in rock pools with Adventure Boy, finally capturing one luckless toadie, Adventure boy lifting him from the net to carefully study him, only to release him, to tell me how the toadie is ‘best friends’ with Crabby, Adventure Boy’s dear, scuttling, marine friend from Gippsland days.

I’ve had ample time to study the stars of light on the sandy pool floors, the currents, the fluid movement of the fragments of seaweed, the various strategies of the tiny inhabitants – the crabs hiding under rock shelves, the small sand coloured fish dependent on camouflage, the shoals of tiny silver fish staying determinedly away from rocks where predators lurk.  

I remember times I spoke this language so much better. Times when I spent months on end down here, without phone, TV, internet. Just me, the sea, and the payphone down the end of the street. I look back on that girl with nostalgia.

I think I’d like to learn that language again.

There is so much that I’ve forgotten, so much that I’d like to teach the kids.

I suppose this week is a start.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

the view from the top

"Let's do it!" My Extravaganza yelled, and began running with her crazily lopsided gait towards the start of the steeply inclining emergency access road up Wild Horse Mountain. She'd already had a fair walk through a rainforest with her kindy, but she wasn't about to let a little thing like a badly fractured leg stop her.
This week has been hectic and stressful, with four doctor visits and much juggling and worrying. After school, and after Beloved finished his shift, he gathered us all into the car and stole us away, heading up the highway into the distance.
The sun slanted gold light across us, and to one side we had the beautiful silhouettes of the Glasshouse Mountains and to the other we snatched small glimpses of the beginning of the Sunshine Coast.
Reaching the top, there was a small gazebo, and the children climbed the silvered wood stairs eagerly to take possession of the kingdom, small royalty who did their wild dance of ownership on top of a table with a map of the area.
They were stained and rumpled and mismatched, but their joy was infectious. We surveyed distant dormant volcanoes and slivers of ocean, miles of forest and plantation, and it felt like we were on top of the world.
It's always so much better.