Remember, Endurance and Dirt

Memories are amazing. The picture, taken by Christine of Moonlit Magic fame, (http://instagram.com/kyrin_moonlit_magic) brought back an incident from my past. I still remember it well. I guess it also shows the endurance of a child and the ability of the brain to store trauma. I wasn’t a country kid, but my four cousins were. Farming ,self-sufficiency, dirt, and fantasy was all part of their existence. As an only child I was jealous. So here is a snippet from my past – now well over 50 years ago!

This photo, by Christine of Moonlit Magic, was taken at Broadmeadow Race track, New South Wales, Australia.

THE SCAR

          The tree was tall and full of branches. My cousin looked at me and grinned. She was up the trunk like a monkey.

          “Come on up,” she called, settling herself on a particularly large branch.

          I wasn’t the most accomplished tree climber — but I managed to follow, by crawling my way up. I sat down next to her feeling quite impressed with myself.

          Every day we visited the tree — it became our own version of ‘The Faraway Tree.’  There was magic in the isolation, and in the fact that I had been forbidden to climb – not just that tree, but ANY tree.

          About a fortnight later, we were once again clambering up the tree — I had become more and more courageous. I stepped on a small branch that we had used many times in order to catapult myself up to the next level.

          Snap!

          With agonizing slowness, I slid down the trunk, the jagged branch slicing into my leg as I passed it.

          I can remember sitting on the ground in the dirt with a dazed look on my face, staring at my leg and wondering why it wasn’t bleeding. Something white glinted in the depths of the open skin. My hands went around my leg in an automatic gesture to hold the parted flesh together. My cousin scrambled down and stood over me.

          “Oh, boy!” she moaned. “Are you ever going to get into trouble!”

           I said not a word.

          With hesitating gasps I got to my feet… and walked the two kilometres home. To say there was hell to pay is putting it mildly. There was no way I could obfuscate, even though I tried. Better to tell the truth plainly.

          My Aunt settled me down, then pulled the partial branch from my leg, and cobbled the wound together with a Band-Aid and bandage. My mother, on the other hand, was furious. I wouldn’t let her near me.

          Do you know how many times people touch you on your leg when it is hurting? Everybody — that’s who.

          Now you know why I have that scar. It might have happened over fifty years ago,

but the memories haven’t dimmed, just as the mark is always there to remind me. 

Another story about a tree.

As I write children’s books, you may be interested in one of my ‘read-to-me’ picture books. ‘Kathy Koala’s Kerfuffle’ is about an argumentative Koala, who creates a problem for her friends in the Australian bush. If you are interested, please feel free to go to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia and private message me.

Retreat, Exits and Distractions

Over the years, life has thrown a lot of curve balls at me, and the miniature painting done by my cousin prompted me to write of life’s distractions and consequent memories. Whoever is at the retreat, discovers the solitude and beauty of nature is a balm to a fractured soul. I know how that feels. Hope you enjoy the little story, just in time for Valentine’s day.

The miniature paintings that my cousin does are used on greeting cards (at AU$5 each) and she is willing to do single, special ones just for you. If you are interested, please message me and I will pass on the information.

I write as well, but romance and relationships are not my normal genre (I write picture books and chapter books for children – see https://www.facebook.com/BooksByMaureenLarter and https://www.facebook.com/AlphabetanimalsofAustralia ), but I have ventured into adult fiction. ‘Tarnished Gems’ is available and is about the lives of six women, who become entwined after an accident. Again, message me if you are interested in this book. I write under the pen-name Marguerite Wellbourne, as some of the content is not suitable for children.

Cover of my book

The miniature by Lynnetta McGrath is :-

The Exit.

The sea has always beckoned me. I can sit and contemplate the view for ages. The calming effect of merely watching waves come and go towards the shore is mesmerising.

While driving to Sydney to visit a friend, an intriguing turn-off from the highway distracted me. I had to see what was at the end of the road, and so I took the exit. The bitumen petered out and a dusty track meandered on. I followed.

A small quaint bed and breakfast establishment was hidden at the end, in a semi-secluded spot overlooking a quiet beach.

I stopped and immediately decided to stay the night. I wandered inside, paid for a room and purchased a bottle of red and a sandwich, then strolled over to a picnic table and sat down to enjoy the snack and the view.

It so reminded me of the day you proposed.

Where had those forty years gone? Why had you been taken from me so soon? The cancer had been cruel and left you a mere shadow of yourself, but I could still see the love for me in the depth of your confused and desperate gazes. I remember holding your hand in mine and giving you secret, but heartfelt, permission to leave this world, even though the tears made silent tracks down my cheeks.

You sighed, like the whisper of the waves upon the sand, then retreated to be one with the Universe.

And so I sit and watch the sea … and remember. Not just the end, but the constant joy you gave me over the years.

When the sun sank behind the distant headland, I got up and felt at peace. I rang my friend and told her I would see her tomorrow. I had another sandwich and took the last dregs of the wine to my room.

Later, as I sank into sleep, I smiled. The memories were no longer sad.

You would always be my love … my valentine.