Peace, he thought, how unassuming you are. Yet, you are king of all the feelings.
Chapter 59: Forest Royalty
Amira looked out her kitchen window to the magnificent magnolia tree in her front garden. It had been the usher of spring with its graceful, pink petals since it was planted by Amira’s parents forty years ago. Back then, most of the houses in Waldmeer had lovely, loved gardens with flowering trees and shrubs and colourful bulbs and annuals. As so many of the houses in Waldmeer were now holiday houses, the original gardens were disappearing. Amira’s father, Lenny, would talk about the new gardens with contempt. “That’s not a real garden,” he would say as he pointed disparagingly to the en masse, clinical plantings and stretches of cement, tiles, and stones. “They are soulless places for the heartless.” He took it as personally offensive when the gardens of his long-time friends had been sold, along with their accompanying houses, and “improved and updated” for the new occupants with busy lives in the city. He would mumble to himself and go out into his own garden until he felt better. Each year, when the magnolia blossomed with fragrant majesty, he said, “You go through a dull winter when there’s nothin’ much flowering. It all looks pretty ordinary and then the magnolia comes out and you know that spring is in the air. It’s the kinda thing that makes a fella glad to be alive.”
Not only was spring in the air but so was love. Mullum-Mullum’s wedge-tailed eagle, Aquilla, had been visiting the magnolia tree and glancing into Amira’s kitchen window. Ah, the king of the forest, thought Amira, perched on the queen of the forest. Magnolias are, often, referred to as the queen of the forest. One visit, Amira noticed another wedge-tailed eagle on a high tree at the edge of the forest. Aquilla and his mate, often, preened each other and sat together quietly, each on a separate but nearby branch. Other times, they performed dramatic aerobatic flights. Sometimes, Aquilla dived down at breakneck speed towards his partner. As he pulled out of his dive and remained a few feet above her, she would turn over and fly upside down, stretching out her talons towards him. This was, sometimes, followed by a series of loop-the-loops. They started to build a nest in the fork of the tallest tree. Every day, they added sticks and leaves to the deep and wide creation. Amira could see it from her window and watched with delighted anticipation.
Chapter 60: Payout
“The car insurance company has let me know what the payout is for my car,” said Amira to Teresa on the phone. The car was a write-off after Amira’s accident on the way home to Waldmeer from Darnall.
“Great,” said Teresa. “You need another car. Otherwise, you can’t get into Darnall to help with the shop.”
“Yes, well, you may be waiting a while,” said Amira. She had inherited the car from her Dad several years ago. It was old even when he had been driving it. “I get paid the grand total of $500,” said Amira. “And I think the guy thought that was being generous.”
“Oh,” said Teresa.
“You know,” said Amira thoughtfully, “I don’t think you need me at Handspun anymore. It is going in a different direction from when we had it as the Curiosity Shop and you have Bryan and Clarice’s help.” Amira had decided that she wouldn’t get another car for now. She was happy to be around Waldmeer and, also, felt that her travelling back and forth to Darnall had done its dash. The new term at the College would start before long and Gabriel was reducing his teaching days so that he could take up a business opportunity he had been offered by his long-term friend, Bridgette. Grace and Thomas’s business was slowly but surely growing as were Thomas and Grace. Now that Grace knew how to get into Advaitaguru’s meetings, she would be able to go there on her own whenever she wished and for as long as the meetings were still running.
“I will help out here in your Waldmeer bookshop,” said Amira. “I have another idea,” she added. “I would like to send young Dayne into Handspun to help occasionally.”
“Why?” asked Teresa. “He’s a lovely boy but he’s not arty.”
“Yes, I know,” said Amira, “but I want him to go in when Rachael is there.”
Teresa laughed and said, “Are you matchmaking?” She was about to add a comment about not meddling but remembered it was Amira who had set in motion her relationship with Bryan. “Isn’t Rachael a bit too cool for Dayne?” said Teresa. It was true that the very talented weaver would not be lacking in male interest.
“She may feel that she is,” said Amira, “but Dayne has a lot of maturity, kind-heartedness, and sensitivity. If Rachael listens to her higher self, I think she will see in Dayne someone who would actually love her not use her. It’s a much better payout.”
Chapter 61: The Quiet Garden
As Amira passed the Op Shop, her eyes were drawn to a folded rug in the corner. “I haven’t put it out, yet,” said the shop manager. “It needs a clean and it has a hole in one corner.”
Amira ran her hand over it. “Beautiful,” she said, mostly, to herself. Turning to the shop manager, she asked, “If I buy it, will one of the men be able to drop it off for me as I don’t have a car anymore?”
“Sure, love,” said the manager. “I’ll get my husband to take it up the hill for you.”
After delivery, Amira dragged it into her back garden and spread it over some rocks. She felt that it needed sunlight and fresh air. She could tell that the rug was special but had no idea that it was the one Thomas had been given by Herat at the Afghan Light. Herat told Thomas that it was especially chosen for him because it had “undying love and healing” in it. After Kathleen’s passing, Thomas couldn’t bear to look at the rug. When he packed up his belongings for the move to Darnall, he took the opportunity to donate it to the Op Shop telling himself that there would be no room in a small apartment for a large rug.
The sun reached from behind a cloud and lit up the rug. Amira could see that part of the weaving was a different shade to the rest. It looked like a fault but, on closer inspection, she could see that the different colour weaving formed several lines and squiggles. It’s a word, thought Amira. I wonder what it means. Once the rug was in her lounge room, she noticed that the word had disappeared back into the rest of the weaving. How peculiar, she thought. The word can only be seen in direct sunlight. She looked up as a car drove into her driveway. It was Gabriel.
“Beautiful day,” said Gabriel kissing Amira hello. “I’ve come to get my art stuff from the bungalow. It’s ages since I’ve done any real art and I need to start again.”
“Bungalow?” said Amira somewhat panicked at the idea of Gabriel going to the bungalow. She had not forgotten Great Aunt Evanora’s threat. After depositing the Curiosity Shop boxes into the bungalow, she hadn’t been in it again and so she didn’t know if the sisters were visiting in spirit form or not.
“Yes, bungalow,” repeated Gabriel.
“Ah…no,” said Amira not being able to think of any more appropriate answer.
“What are you talking about, Amira?” said Gabriel who had walked around her and down the path. Again, the sun reached from behind a cloud and, this time, lit up the path behind Gabriel. Amira could see someone she had not seen for a long time. It was Gabriel’s angel; the one that only ever said one thing, “Be patient. He doesn’t know what he is doing.” Upon seeing the comforting sight of the angel, Amira relaxed and felt that there were other beings who were watching over Gabriel. She walked back into her own house and left him to his sorting and packing.
Once Gabriel got into the bungalow and closed the door, he sat down and looked around. His bed was still on its side against the wall where he had moved it the night that the roof leaked. He smiled at the memory of the little girls offering for him to sleep in the house. That was the beginning of his staying in Amira’s house. The bucket was still under the leak. The leak had never been repaired, although, he had promised to find out how to do it. He looked at his easel and remembered painting the best piece he had ever done after a dream he had when he went to sleep having requested of the stars, “You light bringers that bring so much, tell me what I should bring.” He got up and walked to the window. The garden was very quiet and peaceful. He went out and lay on the grass. Peace, he thought, how unassuming you are. Yet, you are king of all the feelings. Royalty. He looked towards the forest and saw a great bird of prey watching him with calm, benevolent interest.
End of Part 2: Darnall – the Middle Circle