Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Straight out my window, the moon stares through the thin twiggy branches of my Silver Princess (Eucalyptus Caesia) trees. Like a piece of the sun, it is bright yellow. The sun is resting, having poured energy upon us all day. There are sightings of snakes in Melbourne's suburbs and in our town, supposedly "away from it all". This day in 1920 the communist party was formed in Sydney and this day in 2001 my father died. It was one of those deaths one is thankful for, the pain and inner damage being unsustainable. Recently I sorted (again) through my father's papers. I found a letter from Allan Marshall among the heaps of school exercise books Dad kept. I sorted out my sister's stuff, the exercise books from primary school and the genealogical research, and gave it to her. I kept his expense receipts and records of his teaching salary and what he managed to do with it, for the sheer amazement at the small-scale world they represent.  It was like looking through a microscope. My father's teaching study notes, his lesson plans and sketches, were works of impeccable art. Those were the days of coloured pencil patterns, foolscap paper and folders, exercise books with times tables and universal weights on the back covers. My father was incredibly generous, in letting us cut up magazines, including China Reconstructs and a magazine I've forgotten the name of which featured Australian History. Dad taught me singing and dancing are good, making up poems and stories is good, and the way kookaburras bang snakes on branches until they are dead and edible is really good. So I think of him on this day of heat, the emergence of snakes, and a bright yellow moon which ascends like the bright face of eternity straight ahead.

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