She knows all the seasons from the bottom of the well.
The fragrant rain of red and white Ruby Cascade drizzles in Springtime. Her skin is covered with mosquito bites all through Summer. She hears the honeyeaters singing and imagines them hovering whilst feeding off the Grevillea. When the bats start returning to share the well, she knows it is Wintertime.
If you have been held captive in a well for seven years, you would learn to notice all seasons without counting the days.
The farmers survived the calamity of the bushfire. They ran out of adrenaline. What they have to face now is the remnant of destruction.
The ground is covered with green again but they still smell char. It’s both painful to hear people talking about the fire and stop talking about the fire. The farmers are desperately trying to get on with their life to smile at each other with desolate eyes.
She popped open a chilled bottle and sculled down an overflowing glass of bubbly to calm the adrenaline rush she got after making expensive purchases.
It’s 2:30pm, soon she would need to pick up the kids from school. She hurried down the basement with bags of luxury fashion items from Madison Avenue and stuffed them in the empty archive boxes. On her way out to do the school run, she intercepted the mails addressed to her from debt collecting companies.
She had been waiting anxiously till the front door opened when the clock had just struck 8pm. His presence gave her great relief for another week of pay cheque to maintain their facade.
There was a King. His power was no rivalry on earth and in heavens. He became friends with an ordinary man named Abram so He blessed Abram and his descendants.
Now Abram is long passed but his descendants are fighting in Gaza. In the midst of the crossfire, the oppressed lift up their voices to cry out ‘YHWH! Allah!’ The King has compassion to Abram’s sons and daughters and He weeps.
He makes a living improvising Elvis. Such talent gives him the means to feed a family of four plus two dogs and a tour van which is also their humble mobile home. Living like gypsies, playing music, singing and dancing by the fire under the milky way, is far from their reality.
Home-schooling and moving with tour schedules around small country towns are 24/7 work with the reward of barely surviving. The real disaster comes when he no longer fits into the Elvis white jumpsuit with his middle aged gut and overall puffiness from sleep deprivation.
What now is the question he pleads with his gods while sewing up the buttons on the well worn jumpsuit.
It has always been easy for Sage to make connections with strangers. She feels they are all related somehow in the vast Cosmo. Her heart is an open door for sharing of stories.
There is no surprise to see Sage giving an inspiring speech in a high society fund raising ball, sharing a coffee and cigarette with a homeless sister on a street corner, or taking her elderly neighbour to her Aqua therapy every Monday afternoon.
But in her household, she was given the cold shoulder for her career success by the one should have supported her, criticised for her strict discipline by her children, and misunderstood her tireless giving for personal ambition.
Sage sheds tears in her prayer room for the unity she so striving for but doesn’t seem to be any closer in her own backyard.
We are the middle aged youth who are energetic and effervescent. We take life’s crisis head-on without whinging or whining. We have enough discernment to choose which battle to fight. We see wisdom in both the young and the old. We learned to count our blessings than troubles. We taste the goodness of life in the most ordinary way.
There was always safety in our father’s presence. The memory of him rafting with me and my younger brother out on the Balmoral water in early Autumn is still vivid in my mind today, the same as the cold winter day we buried our mother.
We have never felt neglected by our widow father. And he has never made us feel any guilt although we ran around like mad monkeys in our family home where our mother spent her last weeks.
Now I am sitting by his bed as a grown woman with my own family, listening to him telling incoherent stories of the past. Maybe to him, this is the way he is coping with the open floodgate of emotions which have been bottled up for so long.
He shops around on dating sites. From the early banter, it progresses into a coffee date, a small token to test out the potential of such investment. He does it diligently every week like Sunday mass till he shorlists a few.
Commitment is not his plan. He hovers over a few lovers like watching the stock market. The only difference is he is doing it like negative gearing, so to speak.