Thursday, Leura, Overcast

Something has changed with the local birds this season. They’re appearing more often in our yard, coming closer than ever before. Magpies wait with us while we finish our lunches. The secretive juvenile bowerbirds come bounding through the grass, diving from the bay tree. Not 5 minutes ago I watched Sulpher-crested cockatoos crawl above me along the translucent corrugated sheeting that connects the house to the garage, eating seeds from the drain pipes.

If it wasn’t already fairly obvious from the daily dropping temperatures of April — not yet over — I’d say that it’s a sign that we’re in for a long, cold, winter.

Wednesday, Katoomba, Overcast

Today does not promise to be especially interesting. My copy of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR by Philip Hoare arrived today, and I managed to spill all of my morning coffee on the passenger side floor of the car, but otherwise it’s likely going to be a fairly uneventful work day. So I will write about yesterday again, at least the end of it when Miles and I took off for a stroll through Katoomba for the afternoon.

Our first stop was the train station for, naturally, a little trainspotting. On our way through the underground passage we came across a busker playing the violin. Miles has long been fascinated by the violin, but he seemed a little confronted by the performance at first. Perhaps it was the unexpected nature of it, or the echoey chamber where it was taking place, but he held on to my hand quite tightly for a while. Eventually he seemed to relax into it, enjoy it, and even happily agreed to hand over some coins at the end. Once we arrived on the platform we came across a man playing a Celtic harp. He wasn’t busking — just entertaining himself as he waited for his train — but it was a lovely thing to witness all the same. I noticed that he had a tattoo on his left arm, the same one that Bjork has on hers: Vegvísir – an Icelandic symbol which comes from a 17th century grimoire, designed to protect the bearer from becoming lost.

After the music, the trains, and the tattoos we found ourselves in an antique store hunting for old model cars. Most admired were the classic London buses in all their shades royal blue, forest green, and the classic red. It felt strange to be looking at these things behind glass cabinets, still in their original boxes and labelled with inflated price tags, with a little boy who would  love nothing more than to drive them with his hands across the ground.

From there we took in some urban bird spotting (mostly Pigeons, Indian Mynas, and House Sparrows) followed by some grocery shopping at the Co-Op, and eventually found ourselves in an overlooked little patch of land between the Cultural Centre, the looming Carrington Hotel, and the backs of some shops that line the main street. The best way to describe this area would be as a disused community garden. I have walked past it so many times now, wondering if it was in fact a community garden or not. I’m sure many people have. There are things growing but it’s mostly weeds and dried grass. The whole thing is fenced off but there are no signs indicating its use or ownership one way or the other. Entry wasn’t difficult at all. A small carpark at the back opens right into the garden but from the footpath a side gate opens easily. We wandered through the space, finding unripened pumpkins, bright yellow and orange marigolds, several varieties of chilies, cherry tomatoes freely crawling on the ground (in one case, strangely growing out of some broken concrete), and a few unidentified bulbs starting to appear in seemingly random spots. Despite its scrappy, unkempt landscaping, and the faraway fires that had filled the sky with smoke, it was a very peaceful place to be at that time. Miles kept very calm and quiet, occasionally picking a tomato or balancing on the various bricks and posts lining the garden beds.

Our solitude was eventually broken by a man with who told us that it was private property, although he was happy for us to stay a little longer, which we did. It seemed strange to me that someone would make a garden like this, in such a popular thoroughfare, in such a garden loving town, private. Yet another thing within arms reach that may as well be a million miles away.

Tuesday, Katoomba, Mostly Cloudy

The weekend winds have all but gone and in their wake, a deepening autumn chill. On our current daily walks we find fresh young pine-cones and shake their branches gently to make clouds of pollen for Miles to watch. Miraculous moments followed by sneezing and clothes covered in yellow coloured dust. Beautiful, vengeful, flourescent air.

Today in the library I find myself restless again, distracted by the ticking clock and the giant fluffy cumulus clouds with their silvery underbellies, slowly passing by the windows. I do like being here, there is something comforting about people moving around you to find books, or write, or read to their children, I just wish I had my own private space sometimes.

This morning I realised that there is a moment, shortly after sunrise, shortly after the sun streams through every window in the house, when it goes completely dark again. Without doing any investigation, my theories are either that this is when the rising sun goes behind the tops of the trees behind our house, or it reaches a particularly point where the house is sheilded by the angle of our flat roof. Regardless it’s an odd feeling to see the light briefly disappear and for everything to go cold again.

Listening to: Wildflower Hour Podcast

Sunday, Leura, Windy

The first of the seasonal winds has come – bringing down trees, powerlines, stirring up the dead leaves, and attacking me with allergens.

Strangely though our little house has been a place of calm. Even joy. Chloe made cinnamon star bread for our guests yesterday. We’ve eaten oat bread, blueberries, rhubarb,  and so many apples. Family time.

I have been finding it hard to stay focused. Too much to do. It’s hard to know what to prioritise. I’m also just trying to feel at peace with not really doing anything productive for a little while. The garden is in progress. I’m on top of work. Side projects are slowly being mapped out. Everything could stand to be moved along but I don’t want to miss out on these moments. The warming light of the morning sun. Miles laughing at the way the conifers bend left and right in the gusts. Slowly, patiently, doing very little.

I did however recently watch the Andy Goldsworthy documentary “Rivers & Tides” which was lovely. There’s a scene where, on a crisp early morning, Goldsworthy builds a sculpture of icicles that look like they’ve been threaded through a piece of rock on a remote stretch of beach. Once the sculpture’s complete the sun illuminates the ice – something he didn’t plan for or predict. It’s an extraordinary moment which has got me thinking again about creating systems and processes that allow for nature (or some unknown element) to complete or enhance the work.

Friday, Leura, Clear

After a long, hot, unyielding summer — it is finally Autumn.

The days are bright and clear but the sun is soft, golden, as close to syrup as light can be. It seems to reach much further into the house these days too. The two maples on either side of the house seem to be holding their leaves longer than last year, but almost everywhere else they’re coming down in regular little showers of yellow, brown, and a red so red that it’s almost purple.

We all tend to wake up around 6:30. There’s a growing chill outside but it’s still mild enough for us to be in the garden by about 7. I drink a freshly brewed coffee while Miles eats buttered toast, berries, and milk. We sit and wait for visits from wattlebirds and white butterflies.

This morning we collected the crabapples that had fallen from the tree out front and put them in a shoebox. They were sticky, gently warmed by the sun to release their sugars and oils. Little mishapen lumps that filled the box with a vibrant green aroma.

I left after breakfast for the library to work, but turned around immediately after I arrived. I wanted to spend the day at home because it’s finally autumn.