It seems we are all learning difficult lessons in resilience, patience and dealing with disappointment at the moment. I write from Melbourne’s second lockdown, which is now firmly ensconced in Stage 4 restrictions. More artistic projects have been cancelled or put on hold; it's starting to sink in that this will be a very long haul.
I have been taking solace in simpler, quieter things, like practicing languages, yoga, Feldenkrais, gardening and cooking. I am comforted by the knowledge that the planet’s ecosystems are taking a breath, while the humans are hibernating. Inspired by Monty Don, we have started a moss garden in a shady corner of the yard. On certain days, when the sun peaks through, our little corner of Melbourne glows.
Pea sprouts stretch upward
Reaching sunward in guling*
Winter falls behind
Pruned Victoria Box
Gently filtering, green glow
Nourished by the creek
Flowing under these paved streets
The ancient plane tree.
(*Guling is the Wurundjeri word for the season of pre-spring. One of Kulin Nation’s 6 seasons.)
As you can see, I’ve been reading Matsuo Bashō and his beautiful haiku-laden travelogues lately. Perhaps I am trying to live vicariously through these journeys, imagining how it must feel to walk the narrow roads of northern Honshu in late summer.
The footy has sadly been of no comfort, with my beloved Roos languishing towards the bottom of the ladder. We had quite a losing streak, but managed to pull ourselves together to defeat Adelaide (the only team below us at that point).
Fretful nights at home
Watching interstate footy
I stop and reflect
To what extent is this fun
Or just causing stress?
Six games on the trot
Of injuries and losses
But, tonight, we won.
Fortunately, guling is glorious and my regular walks and jogs are blessed by North Melbourne’s offerings of magnolia, wattle and hardenbergia.
Sweet magnolia -
A message in riotous pink:
We made it to spring.
In July, I successfully ran a half-marathon. My friend Cailin, my Uncle Richard and I had set this goal at the beginning of the year, and planned to do it as part of Run Melbourne. The event was cancelled, of course, but we ran anyway! The idea of running 21kms would have been inconceivable for me a couple of years ago, given my illness at the time. I feel proud to have come so far.
There is also some very exciting news from my superstar sister Janet Todd. She has just been nominated in two categories in the San Francisco Classical Voice audience choice awards! She is in the running for Best Opera Singer, and Best Discovery of 2019-20. If you've not yet seen her stunning Japanese language performance of Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly for LA’s Pacific Opera Project, you can check it out here. And if you have access to a ZIP code in the LA area, you can even vote for her!