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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Snakes, green tea, and thee and me...

For those who are able to appreciate them, these are really blissful mornings in Armidale. You wake in cool crisp air and bright sunshine, the outside temperature about 20C. [70F for my northern hemisphere friends, still trudging through the aftermath of heavy snowfalls.]
   There are no heavy industries here, so the sky is blue and the air very clear. Sylvia has already gone off for a morning run along the cycle path out to the university. It will be about 7 kms. I wonder if she will meet up with another red-bellied black snake again this morning, like the one that reared up out of the grass at the creek on Elm Avenue to say hello to her yesterday.
   Red bellied black snakes are poisonous and you don’t want to get bitten by one, but they are on the move at this time of the year. Folklore has it that they are good to have around because they keep away the deadly brown snakes that you really really don’t want to get bitten by.
   But the main trick is to let the snakes alone and they won’t go near you. Usually you’re on their territory, so respect it. They’re all Greta Garbos, just wanting to be alone….
   Alice will join Sylvia and they’ll go to the pool for a swim and they’ll then come back for some breakfast.
    I have had mine. Breakfast, i.e. One armed swimming would be.... interesting. Early morning I am at my best, physically. I don’t stumble so much with that right foot and I seem more able to coax it to emulate the left as much as possible in terms of movement. Ankle, knee and hip are not getting their full measure of instructions from my brain; the legacy of too many seizures last year, until Avastin stopped them.
    I drink a large glass of filtered water and have made some porridge. It’s easy as Tracey last night has left out the ingredients in a bowl, and I just have to add boiled water to it and give it a couple of gentle minutes in the microwave. I take medications with some fresh strawberries and eat the porridge. I think of it as a kind of sponge absorbing toxins from the other daily medications.
    I make green tea. Too bad if some research claims it may be counter to the anti-angiogenesis of Avastin – billions of Chinese and Japanese over millennia can’t all be wrong!
    I really do understand the full purpose of the Japanese tea ceremony at last. Joan and Tracey have found some excellent proper green tea and if you don’t do some of the fundamental things in the right way, to bring out the flavour of the tea and remove what shouldn’t be there, then you’re not getting your full benefit from it.
   That’s what it’s all about. No need to wear a kimono or have Japanese teacups (though the elegance of the latter would add to the pleasure) but to optimise things that increase contentment.
   The Japanese are very good at that.
   Finally, on this ramble, I come here, to one of the places I feel most comfortable and content – here, in front of the computer screen where I communicate with the world – family and friends - in the controlled environment I need right now. 
   I am not in a rush to read world news as I used to be. The follies and the cruelties of human beings and what they do to each other only upset me, especially compared with the kindness and good humour of my friends around the world. I’d rather share it with them.
   Another rich day begins. Later, we will go to the park for a picnic to celebrate Christian’s 18th birthday with his friends. That’s what he wants instead of the regular tamasha that indicates a rite of passage has been encountered and slips behind, like a buoy in the harbour as you sail out to sea.
   A day to be enjoyed. Appreciated. Cherished.
   The train is just passing by on its way to Sydney. I’m happy to stay here, and simply be.


  1. You are a poet, Denis, and this blog should be published on paper, properly. You seem to be finding that peace which we all strive for through our various hectic undertakings. It's the surrendering that brings peace, not the striving, eh?

    Enjoy your picnic, and happy birthday to Christian.

  2. Thanks for the nice comment, Joan. I think it would take a fair bit of licking into shape before it were publishable!
    Sometimes it is peaceful, and sometimes not. The worst times are when I feel the most useless, though no-one ever has given me this feeling. It comes from inside. But then I realise that I do all those around me a disservice by thinking this way, by not making full use of the good things I am offered constantly. So I remain positive as much as possible, knowing that it simply isn't possible to be so all the time. Even with the best will in the world, people in my position know that we measure time and events on a different scale to the way others do - or that we ever did before we found ourselves where we are.

  3. What a beautiful insight, what a lovely piece of writing. I was transported into the peace of your moments, every one else asleep or otherwise engaged and I shared the comforting ritual of your simple break fast, the early morning is a time for reflection and no-one has documented it better! XXX

  4. Well, thank you, Lena - that's very kind of you. Sometimes ideas just fall into words, without any effort on my part. Later I look at them and think how I could have expressed them better with a little more reflection and thought, but spontaneity has its virtues. That's the charm of a watercolour painting, if the brush tip goes where it's intended and the colours are right.... and the hand is sure.


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