Christmas Day

December 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Australia, Philosophy, Society | Leave a comment
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We have just had a simple lunch out on the verandah – toasted sandwiches with a cup of tea.

It is so lovely out – a beautiful Australian summer day; warm but not hot; breezy but not really windy; not as humid as it has been; sunny and bright; and still clean from yesterday’s rain.

The beauty of the place we live brings home to us, even more than usual, how very fortunate we are.

We have peace and security, in our family, our home, our neighbourhood and our country.

We have plenty to eat, regular and clean water, the clothes we need, a comfortable bed and a home of our own.

We have reasonable health, even after several scares, and we have good medical care.

We are blessed with lovely friends and decent neighbours, as well as families we love and are proud of.

We have worked hard through life, and can now enjoy retirement in a delightful place where people come for their holidays.

My husband and I exchanged gifts this Christmas morning; gifts that were bought with love and thoughtfulness.

We were able to speak by telephone with our eight children, who all live far away, and with their older children; to share in their day just a little – enough to know that we are loved, and to tell them of our love for them.

There is a sense of gentle peace all around us today – no cars going by, no noisy parties, and even the local dogs aren’t barking for a change. The twittering of the numerous birds only adds to the beauty.

We have so much to be thankful for – and we are thankful for it.

I hope that anyone who reads this has had the good fortune to experience the same peace, joy, love and thankfulness.

That is what Christmas is about – even for a non-believer.

© Linda Visman

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A Different World

December 2, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Gardens, Mental Health, Nature, Philosophy | 1 Comment
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I sit on the grass two-thirds the way up our yard and look down the slope of the land. Introspective.

The grass is longer than it should be, because I broke my toe on Sunday, and it will be a while before I push the lawn mower about again.

Dogs are barking in yards behind, below and beside me, but their territorial claims wash over me.

Cars pass below, but don’t impinge on my solitude.

A sunset-silvered jetliner sails high in the blue, and then is absorbed into shaving-cream clouds.

I look closer, down at the grass beside me.

A tiny spider – we used to call them money spiders when we were young – is busy creating a guy rope between my trouser-covered leg and a blade of grass.

Equally small, a spotted red ladybird clambers up another blade of grass.

A second one steps from a brittle leaf onto my leg, and I take it up carefully in my hand, but its wing cases open and it flies off almost immediately.

Amid the grass and weed stalks, midges flit about, searching for whatever midges search for. One has found something – the gap between trouser and boot – and I scratch at the itch absent-mindedly.

A green ant, larger and stockier than the little black ones, climbs the hill of my leg, and I give it the brush-off. I don’t want your bite, thanks!

I pick up dead leaves and bark shed from the moulting Spotted Gums. My fingers shred and shred and pick up more. When I realise I have a pile between my legs, I toss the bits around over a wider area.

I can no longer see the tiny spider or its fine, silken thread, but the ladybirds are still there.

I stand.

And wonder how many tiny creatures I have just crushed.

I wander about the lawn, a colossus above a whole different world of hidden life.

I think how, every day, our feet and machines, our chemicals and pollutants

Disturb and disrupt,

Despoil and destroy,

And we do not even notice, or think about it.

I see a small, pale grey feather and pick it up. It is fine but dense – probably from a Noisy Miner.

There is another small feather in almost the same spot. This one is ultra-fine, downy; unbelievably soft and wispy; speckled brown and white – from a young Tawny Frogmouth owl.

I hold them high between finger and thumb, one in each hand. When I let go, the breeze carries them away.

The Noisy Miner’s feather falls first;

The Tawny’s feather floats on a soft current of air, and lands lightly further up the slope.

I leave them where they land;

The elements will take them back to themselves.

I go back to my world.

 

© Linda Visman

Friday, 2nd December 2011

Author of Ben’s Challenge, a novel for readers from 10 years to 100. Click on the image above to see it on Amazon – printed book or Kindle edition.

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