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.
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.