Sunday, October 24, 2010


The last few days have mostly revolved around analgesed reverie, mostly on warm afternoons (at least before today's cool misty drizzle set in), and mostly in bed. The verandah doors open wide and the gully slips away just beyond the giant gum, rooted deep below in the rainforest floor and whose upper branches, themselves alone the size of any other nearby trees, reach confidently above the cliff.

The orphan is here to stay. He sleeps on his trampoline bed on one side, and the old dog on the floor on the other. The pup is now a three year old and the bonds are strong. She lies with me, tucked into my knees or stretched out alongside, always pressing close whatever the arrangement. Respirations are rhythmic and shared, interrupted only by the sporadic twitching and yelps of deep dog sleep.

Iris Murdoch, with whom I have started a belated relationship, is also in the room. If not in hand, The Green Knight is on the bed on the other side to the dog, my place marked with a small horse, a clever folding cardboard magnet, which S bought at the Acropolis Museum just before she came back to Sydney, and died. Bellamy, gay and desperately seeking, has just written again to Father Damien, to whom he is abnormally attached, begging, if not admittance to the monastery, then such physical pain as to shatter his mind and allow God to enter.

Outside there is absolutely no breath of air. It is warm and still, nothing moving, not even a leaf, except for the slow assemblage of soft puffy white clouds and they are working on another time meter altogether such that difference is only noticed after a long period of not looking at all.

With the completely unpredictable downbeat of an unseen conductor, a mighty chorus of cicadas starts and without hint of any variation in dynamics or fatigue lasts till the sky shades two fingers of pink above the horizon and the arch of blue above picks up a darkening indigo tinge. They sing for hours. Timbals, that's what they're called, the ribbed membranes these insects vibrate in endless unison. They are courting, each individual frequency searching a mate, but the total harmonic effect is one of omnidirectional radar jamming. They know where each is, predators can isolate none. You'll never find one by listening, and they climb high, higher, highest. Seven years for seven days is the legend.

I spent days in the branches of the big Liquidamber (an easy climb) in our childhood yard in the thrill of it all, green grocers, yellow mondays, piss whackers, and the occasional prized black prince. Childhood comforts - the sound of cicadas, scrambled eggs, pyjamas warmed by the fire, and dogs.

And today Polly and friend flew in from the mist, for a check, and a swing.

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