Written 25 April, 2020
Today, 81 deaths in Australia. Please please no more. 20,000 in the UK, 51,000 deaths in the US, 200,000 deaths in the world. No more.
We ran away to here more than a month ago. As I heard Dy coughing this morning, his cough mixed up with birds calling to the morning, so I have to say- that’s him, thats the newly -arrived whip bird, that’s him, that’s that fluffy kookaburra. Everyone has their reason not to get the virus, and mine is no worse than millions of people: But here to hide in such beauty, I can’t believe my luck.
A day with reports of so much death, I don’t know where to put myself. I pull up a mint plant from my garden and walk down the track to plant it in F’s garden. I gave her a little one while she was here, but now my mint’s doing so well, I want to share them with her more. There’s a track right around the community in front of all the houses, for friendship and for safety’s sake, Once, someone built their new house over the track, so we decided we must be allowed to walk up their steps, across their front deck, down their steps on the other side. The track must come first.
The track goes close to the Pink House door, so I shout Knock Knock to warn Dy. We chat for a while, at the prescribed distance, a typical bay conversation about how to live here, in particular his water tank, for its cover has rusted off and drowned in the tank. His sister says she’s always drunk the water and nothing’s gone wrong, but she hasn’t lived here for the length of a plague. I’ve come to find comfort from such conversations- the conversations say that we’re in this together, together we find a way to live with wildness.
K is upset today, beset by change. In her city flat, she lived in isolation. Now, in this quiet haven, ironically, she feels crowded in: we talk talk talk, and NDIS carers on zoom or mobile talk talk talk. Too much, too much. I hoped it’d be good for her, and perhaps, one day it will. But in the meantime, the bogey of change.
On the deck, to be out of her way, and Gg’s way, I work desultorily on my rejected novel, trying not to reject it. It’s like a necklace, with dull beads and suddenly a shiny one, dull beads and suddenly a shiny one. it comes to me that perhaps a play could come out of stringing together the shiny beads; and after that, a novel that the readers of publishers didn’t reject. After two hours I despair of that plan, pack up, put my work away, and clamber down to our little cove with a tarpaulin, to pick up the logs and sticks that washed up there in the huge storm. It’s a long job, but today much more fun than writing. I set a fire in the 44 gallon drum, piling in dead, yellow ferns because they make good fire starters, run up the 40 steps to put on chicken soup with vegetables for dinner, and return to watch flames leap higher than the roof, higher than the stars.