My grandfather, Michael John Pope, was a pioneer farmer in outback New South Wales, Australia. He built his small, four-room home, Little Oakey, from the creek-stones of the area. Behind the house was a wattle and daub (clay) kitchen and cellar. In that little home, with his wife Mary Jane, he raised five children in, what would be considered by today’s standards, primitive isolation. One of his daughters, my aunt, describes Little Oakey,
Our home was situated on Little Oakey Creek; a very pretty spot surrounded by lovely oak trees and mountains. There were paddocks, a creek running by the orchard, haystacks, a vegetable garden, wells dug in both gardens, wildflowers growing all around the flats, and a spring where we all swam. I always loved our home and dreamed about it many times and had happy times when going to school. Ann Pope
In Long Hill, at the entrance of the Outer Circle (interdimensional):
“When you enter the Outer Circle,” said Lan-Lan to Vera, “the most pressing problem is recall. On moving into its atmosphere, you will forget who you are and why you are there.”
“If I cannot remember who I am, I will be very vulnerable,” said Vera as she backed away from the entrance at the top of Long Hill.
“Don’t worry,” said Lan-Lan. “The loss of memory is only partial. If you can grasp onto some of it, its return will be hastened.” He stepped through the archway into the Outer Circle saying, “I will be with you.”
Vera glanced backwards to Long Hill but, instead of being inviting, it looked misty and impenetrable. She recalled Mullum-Mullum’s initial instructions,
Think not you can return on the path that leads to the fork. Taken once, it disappears as the choice lies ahead.
Since Gabriel had been living in Waldmeer, he had not seen Thomas. They no longer had their styling-shopping sessions as Gabriel was no longer in the city. In Waldmeer, their circles didn’t intersect. Thomas’s world consisted, almost entirely, of school-related people and events. Kathleen, Thomas’s ex-girlfriend, was the only person he saw who did not belong to school. This morning, Gabriel saw Thomas walking out of the supermarket. At least, he thought it was Thomas, but he had to do a double-take to be sure. Thomas looked like he had aged five years in six months and had unfortunately reverted to his old man’s dress code which aged him a further ten years.
Ever since Farkas had stormed out of the cafe, not to return, Maria had felt ill. She was even finding some of the cafe customers annoying. Mrs. Reisenden was one of them. Maria’s mother liked her and enjoyed talking with her whenever she was visiting Waldmeer.
“You have returned,” said Maria’s mother with obvious delight. “Do tell me how life has been in the city since you have last been here on holidays.”
In the spirit world of a garden, in Waldmeer, on Earth:
The gardener walked into their lives bright and sharp. Her need was covered by a ready smile. She came from a house with walls that echoed loneliness. On the very first day, her eyes were drawn to the little flower in the corner of the garden. Its beauty was in its simplicity. The gardener’s jealousy was already born. She watched it every day. It moved to the breeze and reached for the sunshine. The flower did not complain about the dark, the wind or the cold. Its roots had strength unseen.