Today is Saturday the 19th of October 2013. Today I sit here with all the doors and windows shut to stop the smoke from outside coming in. My eyes are very sore and I’m feeling quite teary, but that is a natural physical and emotional reaction to what is unfolding around us. We are in the midst of the most horrendous bushfires the Blue Mountains has ever experienced. Right here, right now, we are all safe, but that is not the case for so many of our friends and the next few days are predicted to bring more tragedy if the weather reports are correct.
So I’m trying to keep occupied and diverted from the obvious by writing the prompt for this week’s Book of Me activity. This week we are to create a Time Capsule.
I don’t think I can do that… not physically. It won’t fit into the emergency bag I have packed in case we have to get out. If the nightmare reaches our home we would have to leave most of our belongings and may never see them again. So many people have had this happen in the last few days here. In Winmalee alone 193 homes have been destroyed and another 100 odd have been damaged. Time capsules just wouldn’t have made it through.
So my time capsule to you, my children and my grandchildren, and hopefully great grandchildren will not be physical. Don’t open my Tupperware cupboard looking for it. I know that’s where everything else that loses it’s way ends up, but this time, it’s not there. This time, you just have to use your imagination. I’ll imagine what my time capsule box would look like and tell you what is inside…
Imagine a small, intricately carved wooden box with a mother of pearl inlay. There’d be a lock on it made of rose gold and when you opened it you’d hear a tinkling musical La Vie En Rose playing as you felt the black velvet lining and smelt a long held scent of Oklahoma rose petals. No, I don’t have anything like this but that would be my ideal time capsule box.
Inside would be small satin pouches, probably in shades of ivory, and each would be hand embroidered with the name of what is inside. They’d be tied with very thin ribbon, the colour different for each pouch.
Now as you reach in you will find the first one. It is named Leaves. Go on, open it, but be careful because they’ll be very brittle now. Two gum leaves are in there; one grey green, one bright orange. They signify the things I want you to have in your lives. The grey green leaf is for youth and renewal. Have a wonderful childhood and keep it for as long as possible. When you get tired of playing the game you are playing, change it and renew yourself. Do this at all times throughout your life. The bright orange leaf is for excitement. Be excited in all you do. Be happy and stand out loud and proud and strong in your convictions as the orange leaf does on the gum tree.
The gum leaves outside the window now are standing out quite darkly against the background of smoke haze.
Put the Leaves pouch back now and take the one named Petals. Don’t reach into it, just open it and smell it first and smell my garden. Hopefully that will bring back some nice memories for you. There is lavender to help you rest at night. Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Well that’s what they say but I’m not wealthy… and I’m not a man so maybe don’t take too much notice of that. Rose petals are there to remind you to surround yourself with whatever you find beautiful and whatever makes you feel beautiful. Don’t let anyone stop you doing that. Violets are in there to remind you that it doesn’t matter how small you are, if there are enough of you together all feeling the same way, you can spread the most wonderful perfume to all who pass by. There are lots of bulbs in here too – daffodils, jonquils, bluebells, muscaria – they are to remind you that if you plant the right things in your own children’s minds, no matter what the season or reason that is put upon them, they will retain that seed and it will come out when it needs to. The daisies are for smiles. Do it often and make others do it too. I’ve put a few pine cones in too because that is the smell of Xmas and while you won’t get a visit from Jesus on his birthday, you will get me haunting you if you all don’t get together every Xmas and enjoy the fact you have your family together. And lastly you can smell jasmine. It is a most ferocious vine, rampant and called a weed here where native plants are the preferred garden adornments. But like the jasmine you need to wrap everyone you love up in your arms and keep them together surrounded by the knowledge that you are there and that no matter how hard someone tries to get rid of you, you aren’t shifting anywhere.
There isn’t a lot of perfume in my garden today. It’s overpowered by the smell of smoke.
When you start to open the next one, do it slowly, just a millimetre at a time. It’s the one called Music and if you open it too quickly you could get tinnitus like your Da. I know there are so many songs hitting you now… all the British 60’s pop, all the 70’s glam rock… not a lot of 80’s because I was busy being pregnant and exhausted then… all the 90’s songs my daughters loved…. and that awful screeching in the background? Yes, that’s me singing along to all of them. Loudly and with all associated headbanging, footstomping, air guitaring and posturing with a hairbrush in front of the mirror. Sing people. Sing, sing, sing and your life will be so much richer. Make your life a songbook and keep enjoying the songs that you enjoy. You will notice there is absolutely NO rap music, (except a bit of Eminem because of Lisa) in this pouch. My one order to you all…. keep it that way!
The only music I can hear right now is the sound of the cicadas. They have been a symphony orchestra for the past few weeks and it’s good to hear them. The fires have stopped the other music here today – there are hardly any birds around.
There really is no reason to try and bury that pouch under all the others…but if you must, go ahead and pull out the next one. The one named Cats. No, it’s not the bones of Crumpet or Booty or Cassie in there, but it’s their attitudes all tied up together. Be a cat in this life. Cats look after themselves. Cats are the Queens of Comfort. Cats keep themselves clean. Cats are independent. Cats demand cuddles when they need them. Cats bury their own poop. Be a cat.
Right now I’m keeping the cats inside to make sure they are close by if we have to get out in a hurry. They seem quite comfortable. Boots has one eye open and is snoring on her back on a quilt I made. Crumpet has her head up her bum and is also snoring on one of the lounges. Cassie is dribbling on the bed. Footnote: Try not to be Cassie, if you are – see a doctor.
That next pouch is named Words. Inside are all the words of all the books and all the songs and all the knowledge in the world. Use words. Know words. Find words. Understand words. Knowledge is important. Learn, learn, learn and then be a teacher. Time spent teaching is not time wasted. Teach words.
Today though, there are very few words that can be said about what is happening. I have just read the words “Too late to leave” posted about a community at Bilpin that the fire has just impacted on. Heed words.
There’s a wet pouch on the side there. You don’t have to open it. No I didn’t wee in it. It’s a few tears in there. If I’ve lived long enough for you to get to know me you’ll know I’m a bit of a wuss. I cry in movies. I cry in the nightly news reports. I cry when I’m happy more than I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m proud and when I’m patriotic. It doesn’t hurt anyone and it’s not something I can control very well at all but you know what? That’s why I put them in this time capsule because I want you to cry if you need to. Don’t be ashamed to show your emotions. Don’t hide them. Don’t give a single damn what anyone else thinks. If it is you then it is you. Be content with yourself. And when you’ve had a cry, drink tea. Twinings Assam Bold if it still exists. Sorry about that teabag in there but it does give a nice natural dye to the pouch, doesn’t it?
Today there are a lot of tears around here – and a lot of used teabags.
You’ve got to the last pouch there and it’s very light I know. It’s the one called Now. It’s empty. I don’t want to put anything in it because right now, Now, is not what Now should be. Now the air around us is full of heartache, sadness, disbelief, shock ,unnatural naturalness, sirens, smoke, fear, tension, helicopter noise, worry, controlled calm. I want you to open the Now pouch as you read this and put your Now into it. Your Now won’t be like mine is at this moment. Your Now will be wonderful and your Now will be worth filling this pouch with. Your Now will be what every other day of my life with you has been. Worth bottling. Totally worth bottling.
Close the lid on my little time capsule box now…actually, don’t. Just leave it open a little longer and listen to the music playing and be a daisy.
Always be a daisy.
19th October 2013