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.
The human psyche gets in the way of spiritual progress. Without understanding it, we will be fighting an invisible enemy. As soon as it becomes more visible to us, its days are numbered. Rather than trying to delete our mental chatter in meditation, it helps to look at it objectively and go into it. The chatter tells us what we are thinking and what our fears and angers are.
In the beginning years of my consciousness-awareness, during my long daily walks, I would start off just naturally thinking about all the things that were currently preoccupying the surface of my mind. It’s easy. You go with the stream of thought. However, rather than becoming blindly immersed in the thoughts, I would watch them. I didn’t stop them. I let them continue, but I would watch and ask myself certain questions:
What are my fears at this moment? Am I sad or grieving anything? Am I angry with anyone? Do I want something? What are my thoughts telling me?
“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.
It was Monday morning. As Ben walked through the glass doors of the State Ballet building, he came across one of the older professionals of the company, a friend of many years.
“Morning, Ben,” said the man. “How’s Store Creek going?”
“Morning,” said Ben. “Fine. I suppose.”
Truth be told, two weekends had passed since Ben had seen Merlyn. More, he hadn’t even spoken to her. Nor had he messaged. Every day, if not many times a day, he checked his messages to see if she had messaged him. She hadn’t.
Seeing the look on Ben’s face, his friend said tentatively, “Look, buddy, I thought you were back together but if things aren’t going quite to plan, I have a suggestion.” He waited to see Ben’s reaction. As there was no obvious displeasure from Ben about a suggestion, he continued, “The missus and I have had our ups and downs over the years. I think most people think that we have been very fortunate with our marriage and we have been but, the thing is, everyone has their problems. God knows, we’ve had many.”
After six months of living in Store Creek with the cold weather, it was good to finally arrive at spring’s doorstep. Merlyn wondered if that was why Ben had decided to visit today. He said it was a rental inspection. But that was just a joke. At least, Merlyn hoped it was a joke. Although it was two years since their separation, they had been married for three years. Nothing needed inspecting.
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.