I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Three Simple Recipes for Happiness

Amidst the quotidian chaos of this week, three lovely things. First, the little frog who appeared in our back garden a few weeks ago, and who seemed to have been captured by heaven knows what ghastly fate, reappeared last night. I like to think he had made a quick trip down to the creek to tell his friends what a lovely place he had found to live. But whatever his reasons, I can hear him croaking as I type. This simple thing — a frog has chosen our garden and our water trough — has an extraordinary capacity to lift the spirit: I was quite brought down by the thought he might have moved on, or met a sticky end; and then, reflexively, somewhat disturbed to think my happiness might depend on the presence of a frog. But since they are excellent indicators of environmental health, perhaps our happiness IS indeed linked to these simple things.

The second thing to happen, two days ago, was the sudden realisation that my wrist had suddenly improved sufficiently after falling off my bike for me to approach the piano again. My favourite things to play are selected movements in Bach's English Suites. They are mostly far too difficult for me, but there are some passages I can rattle through tolerably well. This is an odd form of release, of course: same body position, same relationship between a text and a keyboard as the rest of the day. But still, it's a different world for me, a world for which I have no responsibility at all.

Third, and most complex, going to see Kathleen Fallon's play Buyback: Three Boongs in the Kitchen last night. Kathleen teaches Creative Writing and Performance in my department, and this is her own story of fostering a Torres Strait Islander boy and the difficulties of the 'natural' families, hers and his, on either side of this irresistible but difficult relationship; it is beautifully played. Lots of emotions were played out in and around the ones generated by the play itself; not least for me, perhaps, the sense of awe at the lives of my colleagues. For every little frog who appears and disappears, how many other appearances and disappearances in all our lives...

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