Sunday, 28 June 2009

in the olden days

In the olden days when we didn't have kids and all the trappings, D and I regularly quit jobs and took off on adventures large and small. Our fledgling relationship was largely forged during a nine month tour of South East Asia and a very long trip home overland from Darwin.

Once we went to Central Australia and spent two months getting there slowly, and coming home even slower. I took a lap top and spent afternoons writing while the battery lasted and D pottered around making fire and reading the paper.

We visited ghost towns (who knew Australia even had such things?) and drove carefully up the Oodnadatta track. Got rained into clay pans and camped next to a bitchin' big meteor crater. Had a really spectacular dinner under a very big tree in Alice Springs, saw the biggest spider ever in the Macdonnell Ranges and made damper in a pot in the red dirt outside Leigh Creek. At night we slept on the lowered tail gate of the '67 Falcon wagon with our heads poking out getting all covered in dew.

Good times. One day I'll scan some photos of those trips.

And at various points along the way I collected little samples of earth: black sand, red dust, white ash, yellow clay. I don't really know why I did it, but I've long loved those little specimens. The memories they contain, the spectrum of the land I visited then.

So today I was rushing, and being careless and I tripped them in their lovely little wooden box off the shelf and onto the floor with a resounding smash. So now there are a few less. A minor tragedy for sure, but sad just the same.

I cleaned them up and I took the kids to the park because I couldn't bear thinking about it. So silly!

Luckily the park was delightful and sunny and it made me happy to be out there with my kids. In this life.

Wil's brand new ear cozy hat is too small and he fell a good five feet from the top of a climbing frame but still the sunshine was enough to make me glad to be alive again. He's had a rough trot the last few days with strep throat but at last the penicillin has kicked in and he's getting back his good humour.

Amy is busy undergoing psychological preparation for leaving her friends behind for Darwin. It's hard for such a social being as her to feel like the leap into the unknown is easy. Part of her plan has involved getting an email address, securing rights to my point and shoot camera and starting a blog. There are moments as a parent when you look at your child and suddenly realise they have grown a whole new dimension since you sized them up last, and the last few days have really been like that with me and her. She's such a terrific kid.
And my really lovely neighbours took us in tonight and fed and entertained us while I got started on a new hat for Wil and we came home late and tired. But happy.


Tania said...

Glad the sun managed to shine through a five foot fall and a too small hat and maybe some of the other stuff happening.

Perhaps you should take a soil sample of 'this life', this park, that five foot fall, the too small hat, and this growing-up Amy.

habitual said...

Wow.... wonderful story and beautiful life. I wish I had a fraction of that blissful spirit. I'm not sure what I'm afraid of, but it all seems to thrilling and scary at the same time!

I can't wait to see the old pictures and here the tales. Should be awesome sprinkled in with the new adventures! :)

Emma said...

You brought a tear to my eye.

I am often thinking about my life before kids, and my life now - with a feisty 2 1/2 year old and a baby who'll be born any day now. My girl has been sick with a throat infection these last couple of days and after all the vomiting and late nights, I feel so honoured to be her mother and while I may miss the life my husband and I had before she was born, I wouldn't trade the now for anything. I think I'll take the girl out and get some sunshine myself today.

froginthepond said...

In our olden days we took a study trip to Florence, went to gigs, started up original bands and lived poor. In these days our kids love to hear the stories and plan their own bands, help us decide where we might live in Europe. It's different and even more fun than it used to be. sometimes we think kids have really changed our lives and then we realise it's same same but better.

Leonie said...

It's such a gorgeous thought, having a bit of the earth from all of the places you have been. Maybe as Tania said a sample of the local park and maybe your backyard would be good to add, something for Amy to be able to hold on to. A reminder of the fact that no matter where we are we always remember where we have been and who our friends are. Start a collection for her, it would be interesting to see how big it gets by the time she is 18!

Jodie said...

There might not be any sleeping on the lowered tail gate of a '67 falcon wagon this time , but this is an adventure just the same.
And now you are sharing your adventure with Amy and Will, instilling that wonderful sense of doing something new and risktaking in them as kids -
You amaze me !

innercitygarden said...

My last ditch-work-to-travel fund turned into a maternity leave fund. We were planning a trip to India, the Bloke had already been and loved it and promised me it would do my head in, in a good way. We had a baby instead, and I think it did my head in more than anything, but it's a blast.

This weekend we went bushwalking and it's hilarious watching a toddler splashing in puddles and looking for talking bears. It wasn't exactly a five day trek in the wilderness, and I had to carry him half the way, but it was every bit as fun as the stuff we used to do.

sue said...

Your outback adventures sound amazing. No wonder you were upset when you broke some of your memory bottles. I am sure your kids will settle in quite nicely wherever you end up living and making lots of friends. That is the best thing about being a kid isnt it, meeting new friends. I hope your son feels better soon too, with this cold Melbourne weather I guess it is usual to come down with some sort of bug.

kim at allconsuming said...

You know, I missed a few posts a few months back and well, I still haven't caught up as to WHY THE HELL YOU ARE MOVING TO FECKING DARWIN???

Nikki Cardigan said...

Memories can't be smashed Suzie.

norma said...

great idea and it will b nic to see your travel photos, maybe you will just have to visit those spots again and get more dirt ???