A Perennial Happiness
28 July 2011
It's 9:15 on the clock. I like the hands spread wide like that, with a come-and-give-me-a-hug stance, or a huge shrug. It's raining slowly, trees dripping, and there's a pearly white mist spread between the trees and behind them too. I think of a Chinese watercolour, the pale grey washes, the fading, barely visible landscape.
I'm not working today. They didn't call me - to go out to a school where teenagers mill around, calling out, dressed in dumb school uniforms not warm enough for the Tasmanian winter, and teachers frowning at their students' behaviour, never good enough. Sweet kids, but tribally bound to a very small range. I accept work at schools where the teachers have almost given up and the kids run the school, because the kids have found a way to break the ancient rule which kept them in rooms until the clock said you-can-go-now, and couldn't even go to the toilet without written permission from the teacher. I am invisible because I have no power, and I spend the time in a profoundly peaceful meditative space and leave when the clock reaches the top. The money's good too.
The mist has thickened now, looking up, it seemed like a film over my eyes, it gives a feel to the distance, trees more faded or washed out the further away they are. I love our shack up the back. We live in a room originally built as a storage space under the concrete slab which floors the metal shed above, used for a storage or workshop. Our humble abode is a single room about 6 metres square. It has no toilet or shower, but has everything else you need - a woodstove which we cook on, a desk with a computer by the window, bookshelves, a double bed, a galley (with 2-burner gas stove) for cooking and washing up, and a sort of lounge room with big puffy dusky pink armchairs that we bought for $7 each, a sofa by the fire and a TV set sitting on my chest of drawers where my T-shirts, socks and underwear wait for me. And a circular table, with non-matching chairs, at which to sit and read and have breakfast. An old refrigerator - some ham, butter, yoghurt, leftovers and white wine in a cask, a filing cabinet, some lamps, a small yellow oak fold-down desk. Oh, yes! - and my piano.
We throw the firewood down from the carport (no car, just stuff) and it bounces off the ground right next to our door. We stack it around the firebox to dry.
I am reading a Harry Bosch novel. Adrienne has gone to work on the bus - unpaid, but, she says, satisfying volunteer work, at the environmentally friendly place called Sustainable Living.
There is an indwelling happiness in me, which is reflected in the good things around me, but not dependent upon them. I could explain it, perhaps, but I'd run into a problem right away. The most politically incorrect ideas are those which extend beyond the body, beyond the mad scrambling human world of blame, not-enough-of-anything-to-go-round, beyond death or time. Adrienne's surname is Godsmark, and because it contains the word God people can't spell it - they write down gobsmacked, God's muck, dog's fart - anything but "God". The nearest we get to it is the O-my-god when slightly shocked. A pity, really. But I think I will stick to the ukulele, which is just right for communication purposes. I'm still happy - it's just that I can't talk about it.
The rain has paused, the sun has come out, sunlight refracting through the countless raindrops held in the webbed trees. Woodsmoke slides away, through the branches ...