Monday, 25 June 2012

We planted two apple trees

We planted two apple trees like sentinels beside the path, pen and ink ©jb
At the market it was sunny and clear. Not a warm, sparkly sun, but a cool winter glow. We felt cheery and relaxed as we went from stall to stall. One stall had beeswax candles, another had delicate orchids in shades of pale yellow, watery greens and mottled reds.

Someone called for their dog, ‘Apple, Apple, come here.’ My head spun around but through the moving crowd I couldn’t see the dog with the sweet name. At the fruit and vegetable stall we bought tiny little green apples. We spoke to a man selling apple trees and bought two on impulse. You need two, did you know that? So that they fertilise and produce fruit.

We planted the two apple trees like sentinels beside the path. I look forward to walking between their blossomed branches in spring and in a couple of years’ time, picking fresh apples for us to eat.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What's so great about a pile of dirt?

Pile of dirt with its very own puddle, pen and ink ©jb
Everything was neat, neat, neat. The houses in a straight, clean row. The pocket sized gardens manicured as if to say, 'It looks like this all the time, with no effort at all.' Walking along the bitumen coated footpaths, I caught glimpses of the lives inside. In one front room, a piano with a slick modern pendant light hanging above. On the window sill of another house was a wonky clay pencil holder in the vague shape of a tree. I thought about the child who lived there and what it was like for them living in such tight spaces.

Environment effects me in ways that I don't often recognise at first. When I lived in a small apartment, I spent hours walking or riding my bike just to get some space. On the other hand, I could spend days at home when I lived in a large, warm and cozy house. So this is why I was so curious about how people felt living in these houses where walls and noises were shared.

It seems the more we intrude on each other's personal spaces, the greater the need to ignore each other. Walking cobblestones in the inner city, we avoid gazes and keep our eyes ahead or down. Even if we live in the same street. In the suburbs we may say hello to a fellow dog walker or pram pusher, maybe followed up with a chat with someone we may have seen a few times. It seems more space = more chats.

So about this pile of dirt. When I saw it in the neat inner city park, it looked so reassuringly solid. Like a mini mountain with a cool, still lake at its base. The track marks left by the dump truck were like arrows, drawing our attention. Come on, come and play. Get messy. Make some space for yourself. Breathe.

After I had noticed this pile of dirt, I started seeing them everywhere. On the side of the freeway in various shades and sizes. In the back of a ute in peak hour traffic. In suburban driveways, ready for landscaping. Each pile a funny little reminder of the need to get some space in nature now and again and to get some dirt under your fingernails.

I don't really know if anyone else had noticed the pile of dirt in the way that I had, but I hoped so.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Ducks can talk, you know

Forest swim, pen and ink ©jb
We walked and walked and realised that we had lost our bearings and didn't know how to get back to the carpark. Round and round we went, past the impossibly green, grassy field and the woman walking her big dopey dog. We stopped to watch the golden leaves flutter down from the oak tree as the breeze picked up. On the bridge, gazing down at the ducks swimming in the lake, we made quacking sounds and the ducks replied, 'We don't sound like that!'

Ok, they didn't really say that, just like these ducks weren't really swimming in a nest perched on a tree branch. But that's the beauty of drawing. You can make life be any way you want it to be with the stroke of a pen.

Oh, and we did eventually find our way back to the carpark - the ducks gave us directions.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Work in progress...

Apples in the apple tree, pen and ink ©jb

You really like apples, don't you?
And wood.
So is this what you're working on at the moment?
Uh huh. It's part of an alphabet series where foxes will be in the forest, reindeer will be in the rain and snowflakes will fall into the sea.
Ooh, the snowflakes sound nice, can we see that one?
Um, in a little bit...after all, it is a work in progress!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Never, ever give up on your rat's tail

Never ever give up on your rat's tail, pen and ink ©jb
Recently, on a trashy current affairs program, a boy who looked about 7 years old was telling a reporter that he was not allowed to go back to school until he cut his rat's tail off. He looked up at the reporter with such a serious expression and said, 'My Granddad told me to never, ever give up on my rat's tail'.

Now this boy was so earnest and he seemed so passionate about his rights that I couldn't help but feel for him. I mean, that rat's tail was long. Halfway down his back. That kind of hair style takes commitment. The school clearly did not appreciate his determined spirit, but he should be admired. This kid had guts, because thin long plaits are not a popular choice amongst most 7 years old boys.

I imagined him plaiting it and redoing it to get it just right. I imagined him choosing the little plastic band very carefully and winding it tightly at the tip, snug, secure and complete. That rat's tail radiated pride to me and the story clearly reeked of injustice. In a world where everyone is trying to be so stylish, this boy's story told me that we should all have a little bit more commitment to the very things that we love but which may seem a little bit daggy.

So I say, have pride in your favourite pair of purple jeans that give you a muffin top if you just love them and feel good in them. For those who love to wear slippers outside, go for it! And if anyone ever has a go at you, just tell them with your chest puffed up with pride, 'I'll never, ever give up on my purple jeans/slipper wearing/rat's tail.'

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Words to include in a conversation tomorrow

Eiffel Tower

Example: Hello person on the bus, have you ever eaten an apple whilst using your lawnmower? Well I have and I tell you what, it's not such a good idea, because I dropped my apple and it fell under the blades creating such an excruciatingly messy puree all over the garden and all over me. I wish I had been wearing my sunglasses because a bit of apple landed in my eye and I was temporarily blinded so then I walked into the garden bed and stubbed my toe on my ornamental Eiffel Tower. You know what I think I need is a good old fashioned picnic to take my mind off the apple/lawnmower incident. You seem like such a pleasant person, gee whiz, you're definitely a good listener, would you like to join me?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012