Saturday, August 28, 2010

"September come and take this heart away"

My last weekend alone, and soon to be as far as I can reckon Zok's first September in Tasmania. I searched back through 2005. I no longer keep journals so I could only look through digital calendars.
Perhaps you wonder if there is anything of note happening in September?
Well, the Magnolia tree is coming into bloom, so Zok will finally understand why I refuse to let him cut that particular tree down...
The daffodils are up, and yet Tasmania is colder than it has been in a month.
My Clivia is ready to bloom, and this year there are three flowers- I know three doesn't sound like a lot but this is a very Jurassic Park looking plant.
Plus anything growing over in that part of the yard is amazing because the trees there leech all the nutrients from the soil, but I've been adding in compost regularly to the plants I've put into that area which seems to have helped a bit.
I have been enjoying the rain, eating too much, exercising too little and mostly enjoying listening to radio shows via my iPhone. I tried to copy a pillow case cover that is wearing out...very sewing 101 but hey, that's me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The responsibilities of loving the 'favorite' son.

As I am pouring out the sweet rakia, rakia distilled from walnuts or plums, thicker in substance, than its tequila like counterpart. This liquor has both color and a sickly sweetness, not a quick, burning fire, and I am told that the 'ladies' prefer this rakia, and as I am also a 'lady', this is the bottle I am handed to make the rounds. Therefore, I have no immediate escape route when the flock of crows surround and clasp parts of my flesh in their claw like hands. They are a swarm of black, covered heads, and hand knitted layers. Baba, Grandmother, Strega-nola, witch...they blur in my vision like birds moving too quickly to identify individually. They chatter in tandem, they do not speak the same mother-tongue, if speaking in their first language, I could note the differences between Serbia, Croatian, Macedonian, but the broken English has the same cadence one and all. Each with the same 'tsk, tsk, tongue clucking for dramatic pause-"Good girl, such a good girl", "You miss your mama? You miss Mara?" "Yes?" "Mara in heaven" "Ahhhhhh tsk, tsk, poor, poor, mama, mama crying..." "You know- yes you know, mama crying for you, no babies!" "Marry favorite, but no babies, Zoky favorite!" "You not want Mara unhappy." "You have baby." "You good girl, you have baby." Now!" I stop myself from pointing out that the favorite is overseas working, and I haven't seen the favorite in almost three months. Perhaps the miracle of birth does not bother with such trivialities.
Amidst the non-stop onslaught of my character, I am more concerned with the cloying scent of peppers and dollar-store perfume that permeates the cluster of women, and I fear for permanent damage to my skin. "Is this how they work their magic, is this how they become my future, my transition from lady to crone?" I try to imagine them as individuals, as young women brave enough or desperate enough to travel to a different hemisphere. Surely they did not wear all black then? But I have seen photos, I know that the assortment of hand-knitted vests were always a staple of at least Mara's wardrobe. They ask about my jewelry, the small gold earrings, worn because I knew they were expected, gold is sold by the weight in Prilip the nearest city to the small village where Mara was born. Indeed the earrings were a gift from her, and although I warrant gold chains and watches as well, I do not rate the saints or dead Jesus icons that gleam among each neck. Only a week long, an Orthodox wedding would have solved that aspect of my foreignness. On this day, the sixth week of Mara's death, I can't imagine the wedding rituals being any less exhausting than the current death ritual, for all its proposed happiness. I do suppose the crows would have reminded me of galahs or honey eaters, nothing as garish as a rosella, those colors are not part of the once Yugoslav pallet. I have time to drink down a couple of shots myself, and really this is the most reflection I've had to myself, as they require no answer. I try to focus on one face, free of make-up, with all the intricacies of age. I suppose if I had been one generation closer, I might have had the Italian equivalent of these women in my life. But although I am minus-Fifty, my own mother is only seventeen years my elder, and the brief contact I had with the women of my childhood were all young, feminist, free from consumerist values and all for the individual. These women care greatly for their traditions no matter how skewed by distance and time, they cling to the show of the better life they made by crossing those oceans. They hold to their roles of Mother, worrier, cook, and drinker of 'only' the sweet rakia.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is damp, drizzly November in my soul;..."

I thought I would write about the signs of spring, the juvenile flame breasted robins, and the wattle bushes in bloom, because as I went walking in the bright light that actually had warmth, I was convinced that spring had started.
Then the next day there was snow, very low on the mountain.
I was so cold I slept in the front room near the fire. I had gone out to coach a session for The South Island Sirens, the league that split from the first Hobart league, so I got home late. I had banked the fire, and I feel proud each time I achieve this feat. I still have trouble though, getting the heat of the fire box to keep going through five a.m. when a cold chill creeps in, and seems to wake me almost each night.
The week turned out to be all about the return (or entrance some would argue) of winter. Days that begin with subtle light, that is then absorbed by the gray waters of the bay. When I look out all the colors are dictated by the sea and the sky. The only brilliance comes from a contrast of gray against foliage.
If this weather holds though, Zok will be happy-he will run the fire day and night unconcerned and cavalier about how much wood he burns.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"...there must be a cloud in my head, rain keep falling from my eyes..."

Melodic Rain.
Rain in Tasmania is not equable. I had never experienced such behavior by rain before moving here. I know rain, I lived in Seattle. There is a steadiness to that rain, a relentlessness, the kind of rain you can really depend on. Here, I have experienced being completely soaked in two blocks of walking, while I could clearly see blue skies ahead of me. The rain here tends to come with gusts of wind and flash flooding.
So as I sit at the back side of the house the rain is barely perceptible. However, on the other side of the house where my bedroom is, the rain is beating against the windows causing them to shake and the curtains to sway.

I know there that there is a high chance that this weather will roll on by, perhaps going to the mainland or perhaps trying its luck at the South Pole.
Of course until then I will have to miss my walk. I will worry that I have put off going to the store for so many days that I have nothing left but dry foods in the cupboard.
I will chastise myself for not bringing in more wood. The supply on the porch is now drenched, and inside I have enough for dusk to dawn. Not a supply that would stretch from afternoon and on through the true darkness.
I knew rain was expected. But my trust in Tasmania has waned.

Yesterday, I should have gone to the store, and I should have stacked more wood, but instead I changed my mind and walked along the beach, and to look for penguins.
There is a small wild area at the end of the paved Blackmans Bay walk.
This untouched piece of Suburban paradise is as far as I can riddle out, owned by 'The Presentation Sisters', although I have never seen a single penguin tending to the area. I believe the property to be set aside for 'Catholic reflection' but I have also not seen anyone musing over the large questions of God in the area.
But if God is in the wilds, or the trees, then this small patch will save us because none of neighbors seemed to place importance on maintaining the Eucalyptus giants.

Monday, August 2, 2010

"...I'm finshed with the fashions, and acting like I'm tough, I'm bored with hate and passion, I've had enough with..."

After the semi-finals between Ballarat's team 'The Rat Pack' and Geelong's team 'The Psychotics' a lot of us went to have dinner. Geelong establishments are very accommodating, they run one bill and then it is all honor system. When you want to leave you walk up, tell them what you had, pay and they tick those items off. It is all very casual.
If small digital photo apparatuses have a drawback, I would say trying to take long distance candid shots of people who move is definitely high on the drawback list.
I didn't skate a lot in this game, so I don't have any glory stories. I will say that although I am always completely ready to do as told, sitting off is psychologically challenging. When the change over is constant, each jam feels like a 'do-over', with no time to mull over ones mistakes. The tension of the game dictating whether or not the final would be all Geelong or Geelong vs. Ballarat seemed high to me, although as far as the bout is concerned there would be advantages to either team winning. Ballarat is near enough that their fan base would come with them. Of course Geelong as a city might rally harder behind an all Geelong final. Geelong is a big sports town, and Roller Derby is having to fight to be included in 'sport'.
In the end, a Geelong final is what is occurring and soon, August 15th.
I am not going, tickets last minute are high, and I feel my skating skill has deteriorated. Geelong is training harder and more seriously and as CCR is growing, there is still an inconsistent and multi-leveled mix that does not challenge me, well does not challenge me on a skating level at least.
Still, I skated in two seasons for Geelong, all a very happy accident.
I have learned so much, and although I don't have anyone to share my knowledge with, it has been a fun ride.
Oddly, it turns out that I am really interested in strategy. I'd love to be able to direct skaters in different plays and see how those plays work. I have dreams partly inspired by A state of mind, a film (recommended by the incomparable Betty Bamalam) about the North Korean Mass Games, in my dream I have control of two teams of skaters willing and able to run any play I think up.
Only a month until Zok comes back to the island.
Plans will be talked over while sitting on the beach rocks.
Decisions will be made.
Things will be righted in my world.