The Red Center of Memory

IMG_2375_1_The Gap

Last week I was running around like crazy, trying to get stuff done. So many things on at the same time, including organising things for work, managing builders at the house and my dear dad’s birthday. God bless him, he turned 95 and still in pretty good shape, but his memory had definitely been going or fading recently and I’d been out there to his flat quite a bit. Anyway I should have thought of it before, getting him a cake, some things to take around to his flat for instance.  In the end I forgot the time and was late when i finally went over there. Even though I’d knocked on the door, he didn’t respond so using my own key, went in, and there he was, had gone to sleep in that hot afternoon, storms and things, with the cricket game still on the TV. Some days things just don’t go right.  I didn’t wake him up,but put the cake on the table with some flowers I’d picked up. Nice mix of tulips, to remind him of the old days.

The mobile phone rang…

“Hello John, you there son”

“Yes dad, I’m here, how are you ?”

“Well, not too bad .. ahh… I’m in Alice Springs…  I can’t get home !  How come you left me behind ?”

“What do you mean, Alice Springs, how on earth did you get to Alice, out there in the middle of nowhere.”

“Well… I really don’t know. Didn’t you bring me here …? It’s just too hot…. to stay here. They have air conditioning,… but it doesn’t …work”

“No… I didn’t take you to Alice Springs dad…. Who are you with then ?”

“I’m with Connie my sister,…. She is out here.  She… lives here. But she must’ve gone out … gone out for a while.

Where are you then ?”

“Dad, I’m in Sydney.  I never drove you to Alice Springs.  It’s too bloody far anyway, why would i do that ?.. Besides, you can’t possibly be in Alice Springs, you couldn’t catch a flight and there’s no way you can drive there and you’re birthday was last week” – I said

“I don’t know how I got here, but I’m here now and I need to get back.” said dad, getting a bit louder.

Mate, how did he get to Alice Springs, I’m wondering.  I look at the phone, it says “DAD” and the number of the call is right.  He must have his phone with him.  Who would have taken him to Alice  ? The idea was crazy.

“Anyway” dad continued, “at least Connie remembered my birthday, which is more than I can say for you !!”

The phone was quiet for a bit.

“Dad, I’m sorry about your birthday, yes I did forget..” I said, feeling a bit like well, actually I hadn’t forgotten, but then he had been asleep at the time.

“Dad ?”

“Yes ! John !” he said, quite angry now

“What kind of flowers did Connie get you ?”

“Well she got me a nice chocolate cake !. I don’t know who got the flowers.  A bunch of tulips.” he said

Ok.. then he thinks he is in Alice Springs with Connie, but actually he is in Sydney in his flat. Perfect.  I got in the car and drove round to the flat, kept the phone on handsfree. I’ve never seen people buy tulips in Alice Springs, and it was no doubt the chocolate cake I’d taken around to his flat last week and more significantly Connie had died quite some time back.

“Dad, I’m coming around to see you”  I’ll pick you up in my car and take you back home.

“OK Son.  At least that’ll be something.. forgetting my birthday.”

It’s strange, I had to smile to myself at least, each of us now comfortable in our own imagined world.  I knowing that he was in Sydney, and he, knowing that It was no problem for me to drive the 2700 kilometers through to the red center in the middle of nowhere – Alice Springs.  Whereas I said I’d be round in 10 minutes, it would’ve actually taken 30 hours of continuous driving.

“Hey Dad, I’ll pick up some beers along the way, we can watch the cricket for a bit before we come home.”

“OK son, thanks.  See you then.”

I flicked it off handsfree, knowing I’d be there in around ten. I knocked on the door of his flat, the TV still on, I went in, there was the cake, untouched, and the flowers, open and wilting in the heat. I walked over to the air conditioner, grabbed the control and turned it back on.  That’ll get him back to Sydney I thought, with a smile.

We sat down together, got some beers, and checked the score on the cricket.. for old times sake.

The Never Never

ULURU

Australia, Girt by not just the blue ocean, but by it’s inner unknown sea. All red dirt and tufts of grass for the ‘roos to eat and the lizards to hide. A car drives past. At night the sky’s milky light from millions of stars above.

there a tracks in the earth

of red at this center of mine

under the milky black galaxy’s face

where the night owl’s pass the time

my country where the gravity pulls

hard and hot to Uluru’s place

there the never never lies sublime

 ever in timeless endless space

I read my heart a romance stone

Amethyst Flower
A rose for Valentine’s

You see it was an amethyst stone.  Found fallen from a bangle chain.

It must’be been, lying there on the street.  When I picked it up as you do, it had small writing on it. I showed it to the seller at the packed flower stall nearby.  She took one look at it and said ‘the writing’s too small’ .  I asked did she have a magnifying glass.

“no.. It’s the kind of stone that you have to give, it has a message on it, but it cannot be read unless it connects to the heart of the one it is given to.”  She said.

” How do you know that ? ” I asked.

“I know that because I had one once.  Just like that only bigger.  A young man turned up one day and gave it me just on the street nearby.  I had been alone for the whole day. Standing round the bus stop, waiting for the bus,  he must have been sucked in by the scent of flowers all over me from selling all day.  Pink ones they were.  I’d got away early because we’d run out of ’em.  Tired I was tho. and leaning against the bus stop sign he just walked up and said.  I want to give you this, it shoud cheer you up.”  “I could read the writing on it then, …but not now – I lost that sudden love unfortunately….”

It was small in my hand purple like amethyst.  Perhaps it was, but it had that tiny kind of stone writing on it you know … not in ink, but in different color.  But how does that kind of writing get on it I wondered.  More to the point, how am I to read the one I just found.

“….Give it to the one you love maybe.  Tomorrow would be a good day.” she said.

I didn’t know why tomorrow might be good, but I felt like trying the little rock out.  I gave the purplish thing to her, but she said.  “No — this is not for me — be patient — your heart is just experimenting I can tell.”

“You’re more curious than in love. You always have been.” she said as she put her right hand on my chest. Startled, I looked down as she carefully placed the little rock back in my hand with her left.

I could read though my salt tears, writing close within a red heart set in the darker cross of the stone.. simply ‘Your Valentine’.

Image:flickr – with permission. Tersiiska – Copyright 2014

Shelly Beach Today – Shark Attack

Tersiiska Caribean Beach Resort Flower
Ocean Flower – Tersiiska

Its dark and fertile down in the depths of the hot ocean trails. Meaningful skies above with inviting blue and white waves.  These are the ocean beaches we instinctively hunted for lifetimes here.  Recently however our great white danger is rising, not just with the sea’s levels but from the melt ice warming.

…the news reported on the a fatal attack by probably a large great white on a local Japanese surfer off Shelly beach near Ballina on the north coast.  Sadly he died at the scene and a search is on for the shark.  This is the second shark attack in the last week or so.

So the flower is in honor of the foreign surfer who died very sadly today.  His name was Tadashi Nakahara.

take a moment to say a prayer for him.

Photo by Tersiiska on flickr  – with permission.

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