Lazuli Green Island Mama

Lazuli Green Island Mama

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

the story of brothers

Get yourself a cup o' tea. I'd like to share a story which comes from the ancient blood of my heart.

It was the late 1930's. Ina (a Scottish immigrant) and Chick (of good convict stock) were a cheerful enough couple, living in NSW, Australia, with a very young son. For reasons of which there are rumours, but I don't know which are true, in 1940 Chick enlisted in the Australian Army and off he went to war. I'm sketchy on these details but Malaysia may have been the first stop for training camps. I've seen grainy sepia photos, of Australian soldiers, all dapper and smiling, laughing together.

Around the same time, Norman and Josie (both born and bred in London, UK) were a young couple in love. They had been childhood neighbours and were engaged to be married when Norman enlisted and went off to war. Somehow, he ended up in South East Asia.

In a very short time, Chick ended up in Changi Prison, Singapore, as a prisoner of war. There he met young Norman, who was also a prisoner of war. There they stayed, their states of health - mental and physical - declined, for long months which became years, as their families yearned for them back home. A bond was formed. It grew and it grew. It became so tight, the thought of it brings tears to my eyes. They became brothers of war.

Eventually, Ina heard of Chick's whereabouts, through newspaper snippets and God only knows how else. Isn't it just amazing that any news reached anyone during 1940's war years, let alone the news for a wife of her husband's detention in a prison camp in Singapore? Even more astonishing, is that Ina somehow heard of Josie, Norman's love back in London. Another bond was formed, this time between women, who were not next to each other, but were thousands of miles apart. And it grew and it grew.

One happy, happy day, Chick and Norman were both released from Changi Prison, and both went back to their homes. Chick returned to Australia, fathered two more children, and eventually became the grandfather to eight more. He was my Pop and I loved him with all of my heart. I love him still.

Norman returned to England, married Josie and fathered two children, and eventually also became a grandfather to four more. He became my Grandad when I adopted him as such in 1985, the year Pop died. By then Ina (Nana) had also died, and Josie became my adopted Gran.

And now, more than 70 years after Chick and Norman went to war, their bond lives on. At some point, in the life of a friendship, one forgets where blood stops and soul begins. For three, now four, generations Norman and Josie's family has been a part of Ina and Chick's family. In my mind, the two families are one. I ponder very often, that bond between two men, who became brothers of war. It brings me no end of happiness that their personal torments resulted in such a friendship, and I hope that, somehow, they are both aware of the far-reaching consequences of their time spent together. Their brotherhood has enriched my life in immeasurable ways. Surely they could not have seen that coming. And if that one amazing thing came out of World War II, surely millions more exist too. Ahhh, the infinite power of human connection.

Today is Josie's 90th birthday. My beloved Gran. And I'm going to the party! On my return, I shall bring stories of a little trip to London, which is adding a chilly (but heart-warming) twist to my February.

Who was it that said "Expect the unexpected"?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Winter? in February? Which hemisphere are you in?

Believe it or not, I'm here!

For quite a significant bit of trit-trotting.

And if you liked that little ditty from the Waifs, you might also like this one.

More musings on my return.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

blue stairs

Didn't I tell you that I was painting our indoor stairs? I'm sure I mentioned it along the way (possibly back in August).

This is how they were:
[actually, I can't find the before photo so... imagine beige carpet, on a staircase, with muddy footprints coming from dirt roads through the front door and straight up the stairs. Ewwww, yurk.]

And this is how they look now:

I love them. The Zimbabwean wouldn't use the word "love" on a staircase, but I'm pretty sure he thinks they look cool.

Monday, February 13, 2012

thoughts wafting through windows

"Gazing out the window
while rinsing the morning dishes,
she chased her thoughts in circles, until they escaped
through the screen and onto the mulberry tree.
From a distance they actually made sense."

This card sits next to my kitchen window, bringing me a smile, stopping my thoughts and reminding me, each and every time, of my friend Lib (my favourite climate change psychologist).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

the pain of migraine

As if a wood-splitter has landed on the bridge of my nose, the pain steadily, and often sharply, oozes up through the centre of my skull.
Bicarb-soda and vinegar-like, the sensation of fizzy bubbles swirls up my sinuses and around the back of my eyes.
My eyes swell with watery tears, my nose runs, just a little bit.
My body shivers. My body desires warmth but the head, which I'd like to dis-own today, which already feels like hot, hard metal, wants to be cooled down.
My uterus sheds its lining.
I want to shed the dark, heavy cloak of this entire experience. Hang it on the shelf. Better still, burn it, so no one else will try it on.
The head tells me it must serve a purpose, but my soul does not receive it happily, this cloak.
Stop wearing it then. Take it off! the little voice inside me says. But I don't know how to, I reply.

I contribute to a million memories for my children. One of them will be of Mama writhing, wishing she could chop off her head.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

a beautifully easy transition

The 2012 school year has begun. Ahhhhh..... and now I comfortably recline back, relax and let the year travel along as it will.

(Opps... slight speed hump. Banjo has just eaten the face off one of the kid's toy monkeys. O when will they learn?)

Where was I? Ahhh, yes, blissfully reclining into the comfort of the new year. I know I've mentioned it before and I don't mean to harp on (but you know, it's my blog), but Chooch started school last week. I know that you know just how much I LOVE that school. So I'll try to hold myself back on that point (for a minute). I've already had a little rant about that to the Zimbabwean earlier this evening. I didn't look but of course his eyes were rolling. Whatever, Bru.

The point I would like to ramble on about though, is just how lovely this new beginning is for my little Choocha.

As we headed off for school on the first day, the sky was bleak bleak bleak (!) overhead. We sent the Zimbo over to the "mainland" in the boat, while the three of us stayed slightly drier in the ferry. It was pouring! It had been for days. (Well several anyway. As soon as it rains for 3 or 4 days in a row around here, none of us can remember when it was last sunny.) We were all wearing jeans and rain jackets and hats. I think I even had a scarf on. Unthinkable in Sydney in January!

But the weather didn't dampen our spirits that day. We delivered Noah to his class room, greeted his best-teacher-in-the-whole-wide-world, and witnessed the (typically) joyful, boisterous re-unification of Noah's friends. This is the third year that Noah's class has been together, along with their teacher. Some of them have been together for 5 years already, since the first day of preschool, so seeing each other after the long summer break requires many warm embraces.

Chooch already knew his teacher - she was also Noah's Kindergarten teacher and we have all already grown to love her. He already knew the classroom, though not as "his space", and he knew 15 of the 18 children in his class. The life and times of the second child are often so much easier than the first child, in so many ways.

We stood behind a circle of our children. We crossed our hearts and sang the Morning Song, and thus our Choocha was received into the warm heart of Kindy. His blue eyes have shone ever since, and he seems calmer, as if he's landed where he should be. He's loving his new school. And I'm loving him loving it.

And while Noah says that the only thing he likes about school is sport and ringing the bell, I see how his eyes shine there too. You can't fool me on that one, my No-no, even if you won't stand in the photo.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"God give us rain when we expect sun"

5th February 2005

"God help us to live slowly,
to move simply,
to look softly,
to allow emptiness,
to let the heart create for us."
(Michael Leunig)

Seven years since a wedding. Eighteen years of loving him.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I can feel it in my bones

"To understand the immeasurable the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still."
J Krishnamurti

I have a vision,
a heart to follow,
a head to make sense of it, when the head can,
veins to house the blood that returns to my heart, ready to be fed by the fire in my belly, to run through my body again.

The tree of life
the world of opportunity
the global village
the universal language...

they are all much, much bigger than me.

But that's not to say that I can't improve them...
O yes-sir-eee... I can.

My thriving children inspire me everyday as they bloom. Not in their words or actions necessarily - though they may delight me - but more in their blessed journey.
They are so beautifully held in their schooling.
They are nurtured in their home.
They are celebrated in their neighbourhood, for being spritely children.

A life amongst spotted gum trees - and lorikeets and kookaburras and goannas and possums, and eagles and water, and sting rays and crabs and fish - is one of the best offerings we have brought to them.

The mission that getting home often requires, is one of best gifts we've given to ourselves.

(Thank you, lovely husband, for continuing to inspire me)