Home

Dear Friends, I am bone tired. Happy and in our new house, but bone tired. I guess it will pass.

The house is very beautiful. Hana (our daughter) has designed such satisfying spaces and angles. It’s all white and soft grey and pristine.

This building was built with such love. Yes, it’s all new and modern and not remotely rustic, (like our old place was), but it’s also cool and warm, quiet, and has a sort of gentleness, like a warm hug from a stranger.

Three of our grandkids came a couple of days after Christmas and, while their parents helped with unpacking and reassembling things, they went hunting for treasures in the dirt and then painted the walls a little with their exuberant small hands, but I’m not sorry.

Yesterday they got so blackened from our charcoal soil that they had to have a bath before they went home, a very exciting happening because their bath at home is leaking. Small, and lovely joys.

I can’t tell you what it’s like to be truely home. Settled and earthed. I do feel like I can rest now, though I am still a bit awkward and restless. Perhaps there is healing to happen. Perhaps I need to find out who I am, now, because there are things that have changed. I really feel like I have been through a threshold of some sort, been remade, like the myths tell.

After the Great Undoing

After the great undoing:
time spent in timelessness,
the  body doing its body things, 
the mind away on business,
the heart a bruised petal from a rose 
that bloomed only days 
after fire had burnt it brittle. 
The will to life, so strong, so strong. 

I don’t know what I’ve been since then
or what I’ve done
but now I have a roof and walls.
There are windows that open and shut.
My body has a place to belong 
but the wind howls across the treeless places
and whatever I was before, I’m not.

The shamans speak of this. 
The initiate is torn asunder 
and remade from bits of feather and bone
tatters found amid charcoal and ashes,
blood of earth, hair of grass.
‘Before’ is made of memories pasted 
into a story that changes with the telling. 
Useless, really. 

So you bring the one who always 
wanted to be you and you make

you. 
And then you begin the work
of ‘after’.

Her heart blew out but she survived. Before she was raw clay. Through the fire she got bisque fired and now she is strong. There’s a metaphor, if ever there was one.

I just wish all the ‘total losses’ could be in their homes soon. We are quite early among them, within the first ten of sixty (or so) who intend to rebuild, and it feels sad to know that, to know so many are still grating their noses against frustration. We have been so very lucky.

Have I sung the praises of our builder on this forum? Alex Barnard of Barnard Constructions is a big heart, a good heart. He is also very clever and brilliant at organising everyone. Way back at the beginning he said he would have us in by Christmas and anyone who knew anything shook their heads in disbelief. Then we had rain and more rain and a bit more rain. Everything was delayed. Then the sky’s cleared and they had a really good run at it.

But in the 3rd week of November we had a sudden COVID shutdown here in South Australia. It was meant to be for a week. Alex said, ‘It’ll take a miracle to get you in by Christmas now.’ I said, ‘Oh well, never mind. But miracles do happen.’ Two days later the Government announced it was opening most things up again because the shutdown was based on miss-information, and Alex rang me and said, ‘You have your Christmas miracle.’

South Australian Christmas Bush. These flowers always graced our Christmas table when the kids were little.

And it is a miracle. They all worked so hard on it. Builders and tilers and cabinet makers and electricians and solar power specialists (we are off grid), landscapers, floor grinders, painters, plumbers, civic workers digging ditches, you name it. Four or five teams all working on different things at the same time.

Sometimes miracles are made of determination and organisation and graft.

With the help of some good friends, family and a couple of removalists, we moved in on the 24th.

Here we are. Grateful. Incredibly grateful.

And tired. But look. It’s nighttime. Here is a comfy bed in a lovely room in a beautiful house that gets more cozy each day. Here is my sweet man. We settle and soon, we’ll sleep.

8 thoughts on “Home

  1. Thank you Belinda. It was so lovely to read this. What was before never totally goes. It informs the after. I have just finished reading Tara June Winch’s “The Yield”. It speaks powerfully and eloquently of this – in a different context of course and not to compare. But there is the grief and the loss and the eventual and sometimes breaking through it and then the after, which is another beginning after all. With your sensibility I think much of what is written in that book would resonate strongly with you. May you continue to be wholly you have become now and may that be a source of wisdom, joy, healing, strength and love. And may you go on, resolute as always, into the future…

  2. You write beautifully of what was, is, with hints of what may be too. I, and your many friends wish you all the best with your beautiful new house, and may it become the home you need now, to nurture your spirit further, as I’m sure your writing does too.

  3. This may seem odd, but this, your post, and especially your precious heart-blown-out goddess figure, reminds me of Thích Quảng Đức.

    You may not know him by name but you know him, I am sure. He was the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in Saigon in 1963 to protest the Diem regimes broken promises of religious freedom. He remained motionless. The image of his act became one of the most iconic images of the 20th century. What you may not know is that after the fire burned down his fellow monks gathered up his body and took it away to a temple where later it was re-cremated. Despite this re-burning, his heart remained. Intact. Whole. Un-burnable. It was saved as relic and seen as a sign of his ascension to Bodhisattva.

    Please forgive me if you already know all this and also if this is all a bit graphic. But it has always seemed such a powerful image and story of what it means to be human, of what humanity is capable of. It seems somehow to encapsulate the entirety of the human experience to me. Though I admit to having a rather morbid fascination, I hope that you can see why it would come to mind.

    The heart of your sacred life lives on. Becomes a thing more powerful than it could have been before its burning. At least this is what I hope for you. You are the metaphor, brought to life. Or perhaps brought to living again.

    Much love and hope for you and yours in the new year.
    J

    1. Dear Johnny, sorry i didn’t answer immediately. I love the info about Thích Quảng Đức. I love the mystery of these things that we don’t understand, like monks that transmute themselves into light at death, bodies that don’t decay and beholder western scientists, all of which we manage to ignore. The ‘don’t know mind’ is precious, the ‘I’ve seen it but it is impossible therefore I will ignore it’ mind, less so.
      (The ‘I don’t understand so I’ll drill holes in my skull’ mind, is troubling but not as troubling as many of the other highly damaging conspiracy theories doing the rounds.)
      I don’t know. life is such a rich tapestry.
      As for me. Yes. Heart is the core of it. I feel as if I am at the beginning of something, but blessed if I know what it is!
      Thanks for your good wishes. Much love to you also. As for 2021, we can only hope, but so far so good. Australia could do with a change of leadership, but things have to get clearer (i.e. worse) first.
      cheers,
      B

      1. Never any worries about responding as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been known to disappear for months with unanswered comments dangling…..
        I think that’s one of the lovely things about WP, actually. Our interactions here seem to stem immediately from a place of good friendship. At least that has been my genera experience. As with all my best friends IRL, we can not speak for months and then, when we do, it’s never an issue.

        I just recently watched “Bliss” and Salma Hayek’s character says, “Let it be bigger than your comprehension.”

        This is something that I am always striving to be open to. Something that I, as a rationalist and a bit of a skeptic, still struggle with, and often fail at. What is funny to me is that I have been accused of being both “very spiritual” and also “too skeptical”. One acquaintance, when discussing the subject of “ghosts” accused me of “having to have answers” when I mentioned an experience of mine. All I said was that I had a strange experience and did not find it necessary to label it, yet this person (a true believer in “ghosts”) seemed to completely miss my point and jump to a rationalist conclusion for me (one that I was not trying to make). I guess they viewed my label, “strange experience” as antithetical to theirs, “ghost”. I suppose the need to label, the desire for answers and our human wish to “be right” all get mixed up all too often. I found it somewhat humorous as they were accusing me of the exact thing that I was not doing, yet they were. So many words come with so much cultural baggage……

        I like ‘don’t know mind’. My mother used to always say, ‘The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.’ Life is indeed a rich tapestry and so often we lose sight of that as we analyze the warp and the woof of it (not that this isn’t also a valued mode of experience).

        It is lovely to be at the beginning. So often scary, yet exciting and full of potential rewards.

        Much love–

        1. SO similar to me, this struggle between mystery and the rationalist. Perfect place to be really, open both ways.
          As for ghosts, our son who died five years ago, was a strong poltergeist for a while there. Witnessing it, I had no choice but to believe. He even managed his characteristic humour.
          Xx

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