Thoughts on Re-emergence
Hello again dear friends.
I've been silent for a while as I've been tumbling around in the washing machine of life. Some of you may be aware that I was renovating my home, then that I had to move interstate, I was sick with Covid, then that I had to move again to help my dad, and then that my dad returned to the stardust from which he came.
This has been for me a precious, but crushing experience and a difficult time to put into words. It is also deeply personal and by now you will have observed I am a very private person.
I have been fortunate to have enjoyed a very close friendship with both my parents. To watch a dear one face such difficult times was acutely painful and there seemed no option but to step in and advocate for him when he was unable. It felt like I was facing demons daily, stepping up to stare them in the eye and generally hoping dad felt like he had a fearless warrior and protector by his side.
In describing my father's attributes to others it has been pointed out the apple hasn't fallen all that far from the tree and it has helped me to be clear-eyed around how my own character has been formed. By way of example, Bruce was an autodidact, he was endlessly curious about how things worked. In 1953 when he'd heard from a few returned local lads about how much they learned at the Army Apprentices school in Balcolmbe, VIC, he was off! He told me his time learning about the Building Trades (where he excelled and earned a treasured silver medallion) laid the ground work for the direction of his life. He said wryly that his skilfulness and knowledge may not have made him popular, but it did make him well-regarded.
The letting go of one so dear felt like trying to hold the ocean in your hands. I considered deeply how I might change my view of what was happening.
If something you value is stolen, you forever feel hard done by, but if something you value is re-homed or gifted, one is generally filled with a sense of generosity or benevolence. It occurred to me I could give him back, I could set him free, I could be thankful for all the time we'd had together and the stories and perspectives shared.
I did this.
I walked to the river's edge.
I sat beneath the branches of the big old fig tree.
I willed him safely across to the other side.
I sent him off with an oak seed from his farm and a marble in his pocket.
One should always plant trees. They are our overstory.
The marble is a memento of the many he bought me salvaged from building sites where he worked. As a kid I would run out to meet his work-truck of an afternoon and on occasion he would thrust his work-worn hand into the pocket of his navy work trousers and produce a chipped old marble. With a marble you can check if a surface is level. It's much more than a bauble. Such treasure!
I must re-emerge. I must resume living. The branches of the tree will continue shading me as it did him on hot summer days or rainy afternoons and when it is my time I hope he will come to meet me beside the river beneath the big old fig tree which has listened to our stories and stood silent beside us and over us as we live out our days.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that just doing the best we can is enough for now.