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.
“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.
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.
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.
The bus driver announced that there would be a half hour stop at Wurt Wurt Koort to change a tyre. The road from Waldmeer to Darnall ran through the hills and forests of the Leleks. At the highest point was the little town of Wurt Wurt Koort. From the Wurt Wurt Koort Town Hall, if one looked further inland, one could see Darnall in the distance. In the other direction, one could just make out the sea. Waldmeer lay beside it.
At one time, Wurt Wurt Koort was a thriving, respectable hill-town, thus the presence of a rather pretentious town hall. However, the death of a local child changed all that and now it was surviving, but barely. Further, it was rumoured to be run by witches. It was said that they were the only ones who remained. They weren’t bad witches. In fact, a number of them had businesses and were visited, with some success, for healing, readings, and other mysterious type activities. There was a leadership group or coven of thirteen. They were all women, although, these days, they said that they were gender-neutral. They ranged from fifty to positively ancient. Their headquarters was the local cafe, the Wurt Wurt Koort Tearooms, which was next to the town hall.
Spring had come and gone in Waldmeer and it was well into summer. As Waldmeer is in the Southern Hemisphere, summer carries with it a new year. Gabriel and Aristotle were travelling in the car to Waldmeer from Gabriel’s apartment in Darnall. It was Aristotle’s idea. Gabriel didn’t like going to Waldmeer anymore. Since Amira had mysteriously disappeared in early spring and her nasty cousin, Eve, had taken over the house, the whole of Waldmeer felt different. It was as if a light had gone out and a dark cloud had spread over the town. Nevertheless, Aristotle wanted to visit, so Gabriel said yes. Gabriel said yes to almost everything Aristotle wanted. They had been inseparable buddies for the last three months even though Aristotle was only twelve and Gabriel was forty. Aristotle was probably the child Gabriel had never had. What an exceptional child he was – intelligent, kind, quick-witted, and altogether delightful to be around. When Gabriel looked at Aristotle, a thought often popped into his mind – Look after my boy. He could not remember that they were Lady Faith’s parting words when he and Aristotle entered the frame which transported them from Borderfirma to Waldmeer.