It’s little I care what path I take,
And where it leads it’s little I care;
But out of this house, lest my heart break,
I must go, and off somewhere.

It’s little I know what’s in my heart,
What’s in my mind it’s little I know,
But there’s that in me must up and start,
And it’s little I care where my feet go.

—from Departure, Edna St. Vincent Millay

20 November 2014

aboard the M/V sonofagun, books + poetry

Departure

Image
life

𝌟 endeavour

smallestforest:

Vegemite and I are friends, but we’ll never be hot lovers…

Originally posted on schizzograffia:

5 November 2014

A cheeky present from a cheeky friend, to welcome me to Australian citizenship. She gave me this, and some large, not-quite-ripe mangoes.
vegemite & mango
I don’t think she meant for me to eat them together, but that is what I did. Vegemite (a.k.a. The Black Death, see below) reminds me of Asian fermented shrimp paste, and one of the joys of mango season is to munch on chunks of acidic green mango dipped in salty, smelly bagoong alamang. Indonesians have the same with blachang and chopped bird’s eye chillies. Sour, unripe fruit + salt + something rotten is a “thing” in Southeast Asia. Mmm mm…makes my mouth water.

The Vegemite + mangoes combination was okay (I had to add a sprinkle of salt), but ultimately not the same. Not because I found it disgusting or smelly, but that it wasn’t disgusting or smelly enough. Heh heh.  So farewell, Vegemite…we gave it…

View original 22 more words

Standard
art + design, blogging, life, travel

About schizzograffia

The ABOUT page on schizzograffia is finally up…click on the image to view larger

Standard
Australia, life

A dinkum Aussie by tomorrow arvo

Morning in the mangroves

It’s finally here! The day I’ve been hanging around for, for the past 8 months or so, and the penultimate ‘loose end’ that stands between me and my man: my Australian Citizenship ceremony is tomorrow!

I thought it would be a perfunctory thing to go through and get over with—I’ve lived here 10 years—but, now that it’s about to happen, I have butterflies in my stomach. It’s one thing to be born a particular nationality, take that for granted and live with an unclouded sense of entitlement in that country, and quite another thing to move, as an adult, to another country, and ask them to accept you. Vulnerability. I’m an outsider, asking to be let in. Also, it’s like burning a bridge and building a road to the interior.
birdbathLuckily, a friend has asked to take me to the event, as well as attend the ceremony as my “one permitted guest”. It’s too big and momentous a thing to have to go through alone, like an orphan washed up on the shores! This country has been very good to me, and I have carved a little niche of my own since I first arrived as “Mrs. Kris” (which some waterfront old timers still call me!) I have my own set of friends, my own tribe, my own pursuits and interests. There’s nowhere that I feel is more Home to me, now, than Darwin.
A little sorry that Kris isn’t here to attend it with me…after all, he’s the Aussie for whom I have gone to all this trouble! LOL But we’ll celebrate my belated Aussie-ness together, soon. Real soon.

I’m really excited, now. Things are happening.
Darwin CBD

Standard
aboard the M/V sonofagun

Dude looks like a lady…

DSCF3978

I finally stopped by Cathy’s boat and asked her how she and Dude were getting along. She said she was delighted, they’re good mates now. Dude sat on deck, watching me but not making a fuss, and looked pretty contented. Then Cathy dropped a bomb:

“You know Dude is a female, don’t you?”

Oh. My. God. We never thought to look! We were told Dude was male, and accepted that without question! Suddenly, everything made more sense…the gentleness, the quietness, the cat’s docile and homey nature. I roared with laughter, looking at the poor kitty on deck, all these years she’d been misunderstood. I laughed all the way to the shore. I thought of how Kris only ever wants to have male cats, but he also says that Dude was the best-natured cat he’s ever had.
Laughed till I cried. Best joke the universe has played on us, ever. That was a good one.

Standard
aboard the M/V sonofagun, paints and pens, stuff i've made

Dude

spectrum birds in colourwheel treesI made a rather happy painting for a journal today…did this in the morning, and in the hours after lunch, before I went to visit a neighbour on her boat. I’m glad I got it all finished before I went, I don’t think I could paint something so happy now.

I went to have tea this afternoon on Cathy’s boat, just next to ours. Was just trying to be a bit more sociable, and spend a little time with all the folks who have been so nice to me, before I go. While there, I brought up the subject of Dude coming to stay with her, and she told me she had rather hoped I was going to bring him over when I came for tea, and had been very excited. I felt rather abashed…she has been waiting a long time now for Dude…I have been putting it off, first telling her to wait till August, then till September. Now September’s at an end, and it suddenly seemed very selfish of me to keep her hanging on for another month or two. I guess I kept hoping for ‘the right moment’ to announce itself…for when I finally felt ‘ready’ to give Dude up. I realised, sitting with her, that I will never be ready. Now is as good a time as any. So I left her boat an hour or two later, promising to come right back with the cat.

I took my time preparing a crate for him to travel in…weaving two ropes in and out of the holes so they wouldn’t slip, and preparing the loops on the ends so that I could quickly tie the lid onto the crate once the cat was inside.

I picked him up, and started to sob, feeling his silky, soft fur and plump warm body for the last time. The silly sausage was purring…he is such a docile and gentle cat. He didn’t fight when I put him in the crate, and didn’t go wild once he was sealed in. I tied the crate up, and he sat quietly inside, wondering what the game was. He didn’t start to complain until he was in the dinghy. Every plaintive meow brought another flood of tears. I rowed him over to Cathy’s boat, because I didn’t want to traumatise him with the sound of the outboard.

We got the crate aboard, and I handed a bag over with his plate, his water bowl, his biscuits, and his brush, snuffling the whole time. She waited until I had rowed away before she opened the crate up.

I had to go back a second time, with his cat litter. Dude got very agitated, and Cathy and I swapped things—she handed me back the crate and ropes, I handed her the litter—via her dinghy, so that I wouldn’t come too close to the sailboat. As I rowed away a second time, he seemed to be looking for a way to jump over the guard rails and into the water. Cathy distracted him, and then he just sat on the back deck, watching me row away. Since I got back on board, i have tried not to look out the window at her boat…I don’t want to see him looking across the water. I think I’ll sob all night, tonight.

A part of me feels breathless…I surprised myself by just up and doing what had to be done, and it’s only starting to sink in now that Dude is not with me. I’ll miss his purring by my shoulder in bed, the adorable way he likes to sleep with his head high up on a pillow like a person, the considerate way he has learned to ‘massage’ and claw at the bedclothes just next to me, and not into my arm or head, and the sight of him stretched lazily out on the carpet at my feet.

I’ve been reduced to a leaky, snuffling mess. Cats, of course, are not like humans, they are practical and resilient creatures that live every moment fully in the present. He is not suffering the way I am suffering. He’ll be a bit put out, and he’ll look for me and the boat he used to live on, for some time. But on the whole he will settle into his new life with his new human, I think, much faster than I will get used to living without him.

I have got another two months of living here to get through, and my biggest fear is that Dude will one day try to swim across if he sees me on board. I hope, hope, hope he stays at his new home, and that the sight of me coming or going doesn’t make things difficult for Cathy.

This is just one of several tearful separations coming up…October is going to be a weepy, emotional, difficult month. Lots of advice about following your dreams will mention the pulling up of metaphorical anchors…it sounds romantic, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. At least, not when the other end of every anchor chain is fastened firmly to the center of your heart.

Standard
aboard the M/V sonofagun, travel

many moons

Maun

photo taken in Maun, Northwest Botswana, by Philip Milne

Kris wrote last night from Maun, Botswana…it took him a while to get there from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe because he had to make a detour around Chobe National Park for two reasons:
1) The park is mostly soft sand, very difficult for a bicycle, and 2) “Meals On Wheels (i.e. cyclists) are not allowed into the park, as big cats are part of the park’s animal population.

Despite not going on any paid safari tours, he’s seen a huge number of African animals just by cycling from country to country…many, such as elephants, range far beyond the borders of proprietary parks, and wander the salt pans in between Botswana and Zimbabwe. Looking for a place to do his laundry and have a wash after the day’s cycle, he noses out the nearest culvert, creek, or river, and has encountered hippos, giraffes, and more elephants who have come to the water for much the same reason that he has…a drink and a splash. I just hope he never meets with crocodiles like the ones in Philip’s photo!

Meanwhile, I sit and count the passing moons…still no word from Immigraton about my citizenship ceremony, and until I have a date for that, I can’t really say when I’ll be leaving. Please let it be soon! I miss my wandering love so much.

The last full moon was a big one. Here it is at dawn, setting behind Darwin’s remarkably ugly skyline…

moon at dawnTaking the moonrise was harder…even with a tripod, the boat itself is always moving, however imperceptibly, and the long exposure blurred the moon and its reflection…

moonrise

A bit like two moons in a sky the colour of sea glass, these spotted rays floated slowly past the boat in the morning…

two rays 3

Antidote to all these murky or misty blue moons is my happy truss tomato vine…popping with hot orange suns. Summer is coming…the dry rasp of cold mornings is gone, and the sky that was, only a month ago, as cerulean and flawless as a Wedgewood porcelain bowl, is filling with small puffs of cloud.

boat tomatoes

Standard
life

Picking up where I left off…

Yikes, it has been a very long while since I posted…even by my lackadaisical standards! Let’s see, what’s happened since I watched dolphins playing around the boat at sunset?

The Magic Garden

Better Homes & Gardens“Better Homes & Gardens” is one of the two larger canvases (2′ x 3′) that I finished for The Magic Garden group exhibition. It started as an abstract painting, but before long I was putting in hills, houses, a #%$ rainbow, flowers, birds…ARGGH! the sort of art I admire most is the abstract expressionism of painters like Cy Twombly, or Fiona Rae, or Squeak Carnwath and Emily Ball…but it doesn’t matter how I start, with bold expressive strokes and abstract marks, in the end my inner painter takes over, much to my dismay, and Oh, hello, my inner artist is a #%&$ smurf. The only thing missing from this painting is a damn mushroom with red cap and white spots. Bane of my creative aspirations.

Pink HouseAnd here’s what eventually happened to the painting “Pink House” that I was having some trouble with, a few weeks back. I still felt unsure about the colours when I went to hang; ironically, it was among the first to get the little red dot of a sale. The lovely lady who bought it wanted to know what the ‘story’ was behind the painting, and it was only as I started talking about it that I realised that the pink, flowery land is being visited by a masculine ship from the blue sea, and the ship is flying a bee flag. So, uh, maybe the theme is “Boy meets girl”? Or “The Artist Misses Her Lover”? I made her laugh by putting on a French accent and energetically declaring “Le sujet, donc, est PUR et ´EVIDENT: c’est SEXE!”

Kris in Africa

It took Kris another 21 days to sail from Pembas, Mozambique to Richard’s Bay in South Africa. He spent a few days repairing the sailboat, and assembling his bicycle, then 12 days ago he took off for the interior: Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and who knows where else he will decide to visit, once he’s on the road? I don’t expect to hear from him much, as internet cafés sare few and far between in the countryside.

20131119 162559b.jpg
20131119 162559b” by ClaudireneOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

He wrote from Hazyvieuw, Mpumalanga Province, two days ago. Nothing after that e-mail, he must be rolling along again. He is loving every kilometre of the trip, and tells me he “wouldn’t trade it for the world.” And I wouldn’t trade his delight in traveling for all the world, either. His joy is my joy…I am almost sorry to be joining him, for traveling alone is a richer experience than traveling with a companion. I prefer being alone in a new country, myself, even though it can be nerve-wracking at times, because it pushes me to talk to people and make friends, and I am free to go where I please, do what I  like. You pick the language up faster, too, when you aren’t constantly speaking your own language with a compatriot. The experience is more likely to change you, if you aren’t in the constant company of someone who thinks they know you, and expects you to play a certain role or exhibit habitual behaviour.

that’s about it for news, although The Magic Garden exhibition is ongoing until the 14th of September, and many of the amazing works by the 6 other artists are still available! I will be posting the works of the other members of the group in my next post/s.

Standard