ode to thirty (and teapots)

 

If years were teapots
and I’d lived thirty
here’s what some would be:


a heavy clay one, purple with golden stars,
I close my eyes and can see it held in my mother’s hands -

a greeny-blue one with a map of the world, and Australia cut off at the handle -

another with swirls and dots, a gift for my tea loving mama,
and years later I would visit the very place in Poland it had been made - 

the Japanese pot painted with dragonflies,
the first that belonged only to me -

a tiny yellow 1950s one with wattle on the lid, enough for two little cups -

there’s the ornate pewter pot, pouring mint tea from height
in all the places we visited in Morocco - 

a beautiful blue and white pot, covered in willow trees
and swallows and mountain side,
carried in my hand luggage to France - 

a brown and green glazed pot Alex found in a paddock covered in earth -

the unbreakable (as yet) enamel pot, pale blue,
which holds tea for guests and sometimes daisies from the garden - 

the stainless steel faithful pot, an enduring wedding present;
who has boiled our water on the stove for nearly ten years -

and the pots I drew in blue ink, one shaped of hair,
another with a garden growing out of it - 

There’s more of course,
so many pots over the years
that filled the cups;
whispers, whimsies,
tears and teabags too - 

The cups of joy, of relief 
post-childbirth sips,
cups of sorrow, farewells, 
new beginnings, regrets -  
the cups of faith
(the runneth over types)
of early mornings,
mid-afternoons,
evenings when everyone is in their beds
(some of the very best)
so many shared with friends,
strangers, kin,
with my husband -
tiny cups of rooibos with my children,

ceylon, oolong, 
lapsang souchong,
bergamot anything,
roasted rice, dandelion roots,
Buddha’s tears,
fresh verbena leaves - 

Ah! If years were teapots 
and I’d lived thirty 
I’d drink to it’s story:
the lessons and the loving,
the pouring out and the filling,
the adventures and the brewing -
Here’s to another thirty... 

 

ode to summer

 

dear summer,
in the morning you feel faraway, gone even
as the cool breeze bites the tops of my ears
and the back hairs of my neck stand up
but by midday
when you're streaming in the windows
drying the clothes on the line
sweating around the brow and underarms
I'm certain you're still here -

You are my least favourite season,
which is not to say
I don't love your brightness,
your blueness, and harvests -
It's just I find you exhausting
your long days of light,
intensity, heat unrelenting,
busyness.

This summer, I have:
watched the pasture turn brown
seen my garden shrivel up
and a black snake slithering, 
been surrounded by bleeding sheep
and cheeping children 
visited my mama and the city of my youth 
dipped my toes in the ocean 
felt sand in my hands
read a lot of books
struggled to sleep
walked with my sisters 
sorted long-forgotten things
let go, and let go, 
and felt excitement for what’s ahead - 

And after all this is said,
the epitome of you 
Is still the first apricot of the season,
that sweet sweet juiciness! 
Summer.

 

let nature

 
 

Let nature
be your life’s coach

Let it work it’s magic
free of charge,
stringless, stingless
any time of day (or night)

Follow it’s seasons:
let them teach you,
challenge and renew you -

Subscribe to it's feed:
the tree rustling
autumn leaving
dusk dancing
twilight twinkle

Consume it’s fresh air
drink in the slow
passing of time:
sun shadowing
ant trailing
weed rambling

Like and like and like

Let it tell you softly
about life and death,
beauty and decay,
respect and plunder
beginnings and endings -
flux, fascination

Let it be wild,
reckless even -
inhospitable,
indomitable
unrelentingly offline -

Perhaps you will feel
changed right away;
a kind of windswept,
barefooted homecoming -

Or maybe like me
it will be a life-long
gathering of gladness:
grounding, skygazing,
dreaming, sorrowful
reminding,
a reckoning too

The Cup

 
 

Your cup is full she said
there’s no space left
for coping,
and the peace for your lips to
gently sip from
(when life ebbs and flows)
is gone -
you’re overflowing,
that overwhelming,
spilling down your chin
and sinking feeling
panicking, reeling,
its not O.K
but its human

can you love yourself just as you are now?
can you cup that cup,
with kindness,
and a tenderness,
like you do your own child
embrace the sad, weary you too?

The year of the chickens

 
yearofthechicken
 

There are three chickens in the yard
I can see them from the kitchen window
scratching in the garden beds,
kicking up bark mulch and dry earth -
they dart at anything that moves
jumps, skips, hops
so efficient are their beaks and claws
for this task of foraging, unearthing

and I think about this year nearly done
perhaps the hardest one for me,
or the most important -
why are important ones the hardest?

I could list the things that gave it shape:
the long days of mothering full time,
of postpartum fatigue, the last breastfeed -
of eggs packed, caneles baked,
story nights with local women,
books read, conflicts had,
farmers markets, chicken sales,
workshops, a school change,
an awful email out of the blue,
the flowers picked with my hands

but really it’s everything in-between
the dreams, the waiting,
curly heads, grubby grins,
shadowy doubts, sorrow stings -
hushed, yelled, wrestled,
wanted, endured, relieved
the yearnings and the forgotten things:
a twelve month unearthing
clawing for something - anything,
holding on and letting go
again and again and again

I could be making resolutions:
you know, those page long aspirations -
goals for what could be,
what I could do better (and not do at all)

But I’d rather stare out the kitchen window
let my fingers become prune-like
in soapy dish water -
and learn from my chicken friends;
to keep scratching at the surface,
feel the sun on my back
make the most of each season -
and choose kindness
again and again and again


Photo of me and the girls / by the wonderful Cat


Birthday fun

 

Archie’s birthday became a joyous week long affair! We had a simple afternoon tea on his actual birthday - it was a public holiday - and his brothers helped me make a sponge cake with lemon curd and special rainbow on top made from edible flowers: rose, geranium, calendula, dandelion, mint leaves, borage, cornflowers, violas and lavender! He was delighted.

Then my parents came down to stay for the weekend so we had a special family lunch on Sunday with all the grandparents, a roast chicken, balloons, flowers and another cake - this time a number “2” banana cake with honey cream cheese icing.

My main birthday present for him was a big boy bed quilt: a simple herringbone design of arrow shapes - in a rainbow of cotton. I spent many evenings working on it; cutting fabric, piecing together with my sewing machine, playing with the positions of the arrows, ironing, quilting by hand, and thinking about all the dreams he will have snuggled under it…

 

Two

 

Between turning one and now,
you have learnt to crawl, walk
jump, climb, hop, balance on one foot,
talk, pour cups of water,
hold eggs (somewhat) carefully,
open and close doors!

You are curious,
curly haired, neck-nuzzling,
with big belly laughs and squawks
of delight and sometimes discontent!
You love to be chased, tickled,
bounced and held close -
You love seeing the rainbows
the cut glass hanging in the window makes
and magpies digging for worms in the yard -

You love vehicles - actually,
pretty much anything with wheels -
but especially rides in Daddy’s trucks,
you move your body to music,
slap your thighs to songs playing in the car
and bang blocks percussively,
your favourite bedtime ditties are:
”I can sing a rainbow”
”Look at me I’m a train on the track”
”Lots and lots of big trains”
”Deep in the sea”
and the hymn “Come thou fount of every blessing”
(which I’ve been singing since you were a newborn)
I think you may be the most musical of my sons yet!

You chatter all the time now,
and love to copy my voice when we’re reading -
you can’t quite say clock, but the enthusiasm is there!

You love your brothers
they are your favourite little people,
your every day companions, and even though
they bump into you, or want you to get “outta the WAY!”
you run with delight to meet Reuben at the gate
when he gets off the school bus
and on seeing Beren emerge from bed
in the morning you shout “Bear bear!” with glee -

Yes there’s so much to love about you:
Our fabulous little one,
our Mister TWO!


(Thanks to the wonderful Cat for taking the last two photographs)

 

Grow a garden

 
 

Go on, grow a garden

Grow it for yourself
for the pure joy of it,
for the serious plans
and binge weeding,
the failures and the surprise
self-seeding,
for the privilege to
watch things live
and thrive and die,
for the seasons

Grow it for the bees
for the creatures seen
and unseen,
for the under the earth
world, the beetles
and the worm -
the foes and the friends
for all living things,

Grow it for the table
for the flowers, and
if you’re able
for eating, steaming,
drying, preserving,
for salad and pizza
and pesto and stews -
the sweetest tomato
and the wonkiest carrot,
the crunchiest lettuce
and the wild rocket

Grow it for your kids
(or someone else’s)
watch those tiny hands
cup the dirt, poke around
for bugs, scatter seeds,
step on seedlings,
mouthful of peas -
marvel at a sunflower unfurling
snail trails, a dragonfly wing

Grow it for the stranger
that may live in your house
one day - or the passerbys,
plant trees you’ll never see
arch over you, the fruit
you’ll never pick, the hedges
tall and firm, and the children
that will swing from branches,
where birds will nest in,
grow it for them too.

Family

A few weeks ago the wonderfully talented Cat (Catherine Elise Photography ) came to visit and take some lifestyle portraits of our family + farm life. I was immediately struck by how lovely, calm and kind-hearted Cat was and how quickly she all made us feel comfortable. As we showed her around our home, the surrounding paddocks (including our wigwams fashioned from fallen logs and sticks) and of course our pastured chickens up the road - we began to forget she was holding a camera at all! Not only did she manage to get us all looking at the camera at the same time - a miracle with small children! - she has captured something far more precious; memories of the journey we are on; something of the joy and love we share as a family. I will treasure them always