Merlyn had her month of weekend sleep-overs at Tom’s flat, in the city, and weekday sleep-overs at Malik’s house, in Waldmeer. Neither was ideal. Tom kept pushing her away, and Malik’s busy family was all-consuming. She didn’t like Tom pushing her away; it hurt. Nor did she like being taken over by the members of a large, noisy household with three children (Maria being the youngest at fourteen and Michael being the oldest at twenty), two adults, and Odin (who was supposed to be an adult but, on Earth, he ended up more of a dependent).
It may not have been Merlyn’s favourite arrangement but that’s life, isn’t it? When are things perfectly balanced on the outside? Rarely. And in those glorious moments when they are, it doesn’t last long. The only viable option is to try and balance ourselves on the inside so that we are not pushed around by what happens outside us.
This short story (written in 2016) is in my newly published book, Touched by Love (Book 2 of The Great Love Affair Series).
Man cannot really live without attachments, but mostly we are reaching for the wrong attachment. (Thomas Hora)
Isobel watched Benedict walk unsteadily down his driveway towards the builders in the backyard. He hadn’t dressed properly. He had no underwear on and his track pants were ripped so that anyone who looked (perhaps, it was impossible not to look) could see his backside. Somehow, it was still a great looking backside for all that he had put his body through in recent years. There was no point telling him that he hadn’t dressed properly. He was too sick. Along the way, things like dignity get lost.
Here is the next part of Purnima (Book 7 of Waldmeer): Gum Flat.
Have you seen the bush by moonlight, from the train, go running by? Blackened log and stump and sapling, ghostly trees all dead and dry; Here a patch of glassy water; there a glimpse of mystic sky? Have you heard the still voice calling — yet so warm, and yet so cold: “I’m the Mother-Bush that bore you! Come to me when you are old”?
Did you see the Bush below you sweeping darkly to the Range, All unchanged and all unchanging, yet so very old and strange! While you thought in softened anger of the things that did estrange? (Did you hear the Bush a‑calling, when your heart was young and bold: “I’m the Mother-Bush that nursed you; come to me when you are old”?)
In the cutting or the tunnel, out of sight of stock or shed, Did you hear the grey Bush calling from the pine-ridge overhead: “You have seen the seas and cities — all is cold to you, or dead — All seems done and all seems told, but the grey-light turns to gold! I’m the Mother-Bush that loves you — come to me now you are old”?
(On The Night Train by Henry Lawson)
On the way to Gum Flat:
Merlyn read the Henry Lawson poem which was on the wall of the night train to Gum Flat. Written in 1922, the year of Lawson’s passing, it was his last poem. She looked out the dark window at the even darker bush running by and felt a profound sense of belonging and also a profound sense of separation – Have you heard the still voice calling — yet so warm, and yet so cold. It was the same land that Lawson saw, wrote about, and loved. This land doesn’t really change. It is too vast, ancient, detached, motherly. All unchanged and all unchanging, yet so very old and strange.
Here is the beginning of Purnima (Book 7 of Waldmeer)!
Seeing the Totality
A full moon evening, late in May, in Waldmeer:
Purnima means full moon. Full moons are auspicious occasions for new beginnings, and so we begin; again. Merlyn and Gabriel stood awkwardly at the entrance of Twenty Mile Track. Awkward because they barely knew each other, and this seemed too big an adventure for virtual strangers. Nevertheless, there they were, brought together by some unknown force.
“Weak latte (no sugar). Hot chocolate,” yelled the Waldmeer barista.
Merlyn grabbed her coffee and headed for the door. They put sugar in my coffee, she thought as she sipped it. Hang on,that’s not sweet coffee. It’s hot chocolate. The orders have been muddled.Oh, well, it tastes delicious. She thenturned her thoughts to the recipient of her latte who would be missing their own order of hot chocolate. Looking around for a likely suspect, she easily spotted a woman, about her age, staring at her drink. Merlyn wondered what her reaction would be. The woman seemed to be weighing up the benefits of caffeine versus sugar and, like Merlyn, decided to go with the flow. Merlyn then realised that the mixed-drink-recipient was Esther, the psychologist.
A few months ago, when Edgars Lake had resigned itself to winter and the six cygnets had grown and flown, Merlyn had a lucid dream. It was as real as reality, at least, until normal life had a chance to claim the day.
In the dream, Merlyn lived in a female hermitage. The inhabitants wore long gowns, although clothes were neither here nor there because everyone was translucent and shining. Whatever needed communicating was done telepathically. Strange as it sounds, Merlyn spent nearly all her time in one room. Seven years passed in this way. One would assume that one would get very bored being stuck in a room with nothing to do for seven years. Yet, that was far from the case. It was exquisitely beautiful, but not in a way that can be explained in words. At the end of the dream, Merlyn was told that although there were no similar places on Earth, there were many watered-down versions taking numerous forms.
Although there were nicer shops a suburb or two closer to the city, Merlyn made a point of shopping at the Pittown ones. It seemed to her disloyal not to use them. Besides, she found the people interesting. Not infrequently, someone walked past her and turned their head to give her a second look. They looked like they thought they knew her, but then decided that they didn’t. Sometimes, they looked at her quizzically as if they were thinking that she didn’t belong in Pittown.
This is the ending of Faith (Book 4 of Waldmeer). I particularly love this ending as I feel it encapsulates the whole human journey – the struggle to find peace within ourselves and each other. All the struggle disappears in those moments of acceptance, trust, and love. It disappears into nothingness as if it was all totally unnecessary. Yet, without the struggle, we could not have made the choice. It is all for nothing, and also all for everything.
Although the Lowlands army was primed and ready to attack, the little group at Floating Cave Monastery did nothing – nothing out of the ordinary that is. The six members of the household – Faith, Aristotle, Odin, and the three mystics from the other Borderfirma lands – went about their day as calmly and quietly as if it was peace time. It’s not that they sat in meditation all day. They had their normal prayer and meditation times common to any monastery, however, they also gardened, cooked, and cleaned. They went shopping to the local village. They talked about minor things to the villagers and asked them about their lives. They volunteered at numerous local charities. They did normal things, but they did them with abnormal love and inclusiveness.