The first week of annual leave is done and I have come through it blessed by so much love! I wonder at the opportunities I've been given, and am clear my life seems miraculous, but my default way of responding is to brush off all this feeling-stuff. This time there is so much of it I have no alternative but to keep being open to it, letting it in.
It started with the unveiling of the Map. (But "It started with" is quite erroneous, because where did that revival of the poetic spirit, that connection of my many communities as one community, start?) Then there was the grant awarded, and people saying they'd noticed. How many people read the Council's columns in the local paper? Lots, apparently.
The Mother's Day lunch was close-knit and peaceful. Mikaela was beautiful in a floral dress, proudly body-hugging, that we'd never seen before. Adam struggled with his food, suffering from a surfeit of some unnamed substance - one presumes alcohol - at a buck's turn the night before. And slept away the afternoon on The Couch, once my favourite nap-site. As a younger single Mum visiting the parents, I used to be so exhausted, I'd turn up with the kids, exchange latest news, and crash. I guess Adam studied my style! Anyway, Eleni, Mikaela and I played Scrabble and they both won a game, which was very pleasing. Mum had her usual sleep, and Heth left first to rest her suddenly virus-ridden body. At the Golf Club, Mum and I - being the two actual mothers - received a complimentary glass of champagne and a bar of chocolate.
Not only that, but Mikaela brought me flowers and Adam and Eleni brought some for Mum. Mikaela spoiled me, actually: a Fleetwood Mac CD as well! And the cutest card.
That, I think, is where the expected love and joy appeared. Where did the rest come from, the unexpected doses? I have immersed myself in the world of writerliness - into the City for a session on Arts Vic funding (coming out with a new possibility), back the next night at Writers Vic Salon, sharing the accomplishment of the Map project and the excitement about the grant. People wanting to talk to me then about my next project, and a woman coming up to remind me we were in the Melbourne Poets Union together years ago.
Off to Council and making a speech, as part of the team that spoke about the moratorium on coal mining and unconventional gas extraction, a speech that made a difference, adding my voice to the already powerful and passionate presentations. Putting in a piece that needed to be put in: exhorting the Council to show leadership, act from a vision, not just manage their reputation (as if they even have a worthwhile one in the eyes of the State Government). Missing out on choir on behalf of an urgent community issue.
Walking with Eddie and Maria, noting the healing of flood-devastated areas along the Lerderderg River on Friday morning. Sharing my breast cancer story with a hundred people at the Relay For Life launch at the Plough in Myrniong on Friday night. The bus trip there and back lively with riposte and innuendo. Sitting with Tonia and Kathy, playing "groupies" to Tash and Jimmy singing. Experiencing being an integral part of a community, one that's capable of bringing together a hundred people to start a campaign to raise even more money for research than ever imagined before. Knowing I know people - from volunteering at the Information Centre, from forays into Darley Neighbourhood House, from being a stand for stamping out measles and being photographed by Tash for the paper, from participating with people in so many different ways. Triessia recognising me from my poetry-writing project at her cafe, and seeing me unable to put name to face, coming to say who she was. What generosity. A real sense of belonging, of being known.
All this time, all those days, writing the memoir, becoming obsessed with the narrative. Discovering what was so that I hadn't seen before, creating ways to share these new discoveries. And then, rediscovering my place in the world of real lived poetry, going to Woodend for the Chamber Poets, re-connecting with Myron and Lyndon, and making new connections - Jade, Gaylene, Ellie ... music and the spoken word making a very happy space, and a place where all were celebrated.
Today's excursion by train to Ballan to my other community - the artists of Moorabool, based in Ballan - was stunning. The view from the train spectacular, the performance of tonal music inside a world of sculpture just gorgeous, stunning.
I look forward to medical trips, and writing trips to the City this week, and the Community Grants Award Presentations on Monday night. Today when I told Mikaela I thought I might go to the Afghanistan Exhibition, she turned it into a reality by arranging to meet me in the City after my checkup at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. How great is that! And more of the memoir. Chapter 14 is ready to be written. My goal is to complete the story of the first year there, in Zambia, in 1976.
It's not just love coming to me from others; it's the experience of loving my life, and loving the people in it with me. Aha.