Day 31: Epilogue: Write a letter to yourself.

That’s it then. The DANA CHALLENGE  completed.  Just the letter to myself to write at the end of this first month of 2011.

Dear Self,

I have been watching closely as you moved into this New Year. Trifle hectic. Seems to me that you are doing OK so far. No reason you won’t continue to do so. Don’t forget that this is one freaky period in your life and take a look now and then at the Cainer Horoscope for 2011 and pay attention to it.

You’ve taken years becoming who you are. This is not the year to rattle and shake that too much. Its solid. Leave it standing. There’s enough outside variations going on. Hammer the tent pegs in a little more firmly. Dig the trench a little deeper and stay where you are. Stay where you are, doing what you’re doing with the people you’re doing it with.

That’s one month passed. Whatever happens during this time, keep it relational to what’s happening in Port Mac. Acknowledge the impact. Even if something doesn’t appear to be connected to Port Mac, it most likely will be.

Hang in. Hang in. Hang in. Add some more Meetings. Walk. Talk a little more. Buy a gas heater. Allow the panic to wash over you. You won’t drown it.

Laugh a lot.  Roll around on the floor laughing. Apologise for nothing. Nothing at all.

Hmm. Hmm. Forget the Variations and enjoy the Unvarying. That’s an art form in itself. Check in at the end of the coming month.

Fear nothing. Regret less. As the Urunga Nippers say.

Yrs, L.

Day 30: Someone in your family that means so much to you.

Here we go on Family. I’m not choosing one person. I’m choosing family. En masse. This weekend we are gathering to go South. Carloads of us. To say ; “ We love you ! “ Here we go for the 250 words.

Well – my family once lived a little further south of here. That’s 160 years or so back. Some of them still live there. Distant relatives. And my sister and her husband are back down that way.

I am interested in the real oldtimers. The ones who came here at the start. The white folks in my family came from Scotland and England to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. Working class poor and some convicts. They settled in a line along the side of the Pacific Ocean and are buried thereabouts. Frederickton Cemetery holds a few of them. A good few of them including a young fella who was accidentally shot by his brother way back in the 1800s.

Laurieton Cemetery holds some more. That one includes my Great Grandmother known as Granny Bell. Her grave says “ a Legend in her own Lifetime”.  I rather fancy that wording.

I almost died down that way myself in the mid 1980s. In Hastings District Hospital at Port Macquarie. Had a near death experience instead which set me up for the good life I lead now .  Then My Mum was crook down there in the late 1990s. Now my sister is ill in the same town.

I figure it must be something about the Hastings and the Camden Haven for the women in our family. Maybe Granny Bell is still there someplace watching over us.

Day 29: What WAS your biggest dream in life (you wanted to do as a kid but no longer can)?

Welcome to you, the 250 word challenge of the day. The lawns are mown and I am home after visiting with my sister. Took 2 rides on ferries today across the Hastings River in Port Macquarie and that brings to mind the Dream held by my cousin , Keith, and me.  We wanted to be Ferrymen on Sydney Harbour.

We lived in the Western Suburbs away from the Harbour. There was a canal running through my street. Paxton Avenue, Belmore. No 27. Not a canal that took boats or barges. A concrete canal, usually waterless except if they opened the floodgates at Warragamba Dam.  The Harbour was about a 45 minute train ride away. Sydney Harbour with green and yellow Sydney Ferries. Not very yellow but definitely green.

Once we took a big ferry right out through the Heads and up to Broken Bay. That was back in the 1960s when people had vision of grand schemes. We rode on it as passengers and the sea surged and flowed. It was Grand. We took ferried from Circular Quay to Manly and once to Bundeena. We were allowed to steer the Bundeena Ferry for a little part of the trip.

I have had dealings with ferries from time to time since “greater” aspirations interfered with the Original Dream but seems to me that being a Ferry Master is something I can no longer do.

Nonetheless, the thrill remains. Soon as I hear the cable crank and see the inexorable movement across the river of a car ferry, the yearning returns. Or stand waiting on a wharf to board as foot passenger.

Brisbane was a fine place to ride before the 2011 floods washed it all away. Ulmarra was a fine place to cross the Clarence River before the 2009 floods raised the sandbank and restricted the operations to high tide. I crossed on the Ulmarra Ferry once with an 8 year old girl playing violin as we crunched our way from one bank to the other.

Hear tell the Ulmarra Ferryman dropped dead halfway across the river. Just last year that was.

Day 28: What is your biggest dream in life (what one great thing do you want to accomplish)?

Now for the 250 words. I have had the blessing of finding some blogging ideas which appeal to me this morning. Whew ! I also have some Steampunk studies going on and an idea for LETTERS IN THE SAND so despair is a little further from me than it has been re the blog challenges.

Here come the competitive superlatives again. BIGGEST. I don’t have BIGGEST. Most. Worst. Best. Etc.

What dreams do I have nowadays I wonder?  Hmmm. I have thing to write about which are not mine to write about just yet.  A mellowed ability to live at peace within the day appeals to me. A greater courage than I seem to have so far. Dreams of ……… elusive shadowy things.

Steadfastness perhaps and clear sanity. A de-confused way of thinking would be a fine thing for me.

It’s a cooler cloudy day here with an edge of cloud and rain. Those things awaken fear in us out here in Australia this year ( and for the last few years) but I think today is only a small clouded affair.

I dream of Rivers and paddling about in Boats like Ratty in Wind in the Willows. Very fond of Rivers, I am. That’s one reason I live an Estuarine Life. One thing which I would like to accomplish is a decreased agitation and an observation of the River.

A doctor down in Maroubra once told me that he had promised himself a gentle life. He was going to watch the tides go out – and come in.

There’s a dream for you.

Day 27: What is your vocation (why are you here on earth)?

Ha ! Back in middle earth again. Only a few more days of Dana’s Challenge then I shall venture out into other realms in a hope that there is some challenge which attracts me.

I have no idea why I am here on Earth but I have a couple of hundred more words to write in this post. This is like being back at school attempting to channel some kind of a correct response.

I ma sitting in a house looking out to sea. Somewhere to my right is a lighthouse. I can’t see it but I know that its there. Rather fond of lighthouses, so I am. This one is squat and white. They should be white. It overlooks a beach where people take camel rides.

I don’t think those two things are part part of my vocation on earth, but they might be. I do like lighthouses as I said and I really like the image of the CAMEL. I like Midnight at the Oasis.

I have thongs on as well. I don’t think they’re part of my vocation but they might be. I have never been a thong wearer – Aussie icons though they may be. I have only taken to wearing them since Christmas Day 2009 when I bought a pair from a service station  at Halfway Creek.  Halfway between Coffs and Grafton. That could well be part of my vocation.  Halfway to someplace.

I am very silent. Very inert. Very eremite.

Why on earth am I here ?

Day 26: How do you handle/deal with both success and failure?

I handle them  thoughtfully and in true Libran manner. Not labelling either as success or failure. I know that I do not know which will be which. It might seem a failure to me but in fact not be. And vice versa.

Sometimes I am elated with instant gratification situations and at others there is a long slow formation before something comes into being and an equally enduring satisfaction.

My ‘successes’ and ‘failures’ are things which will be determined in some other place than here in this time on this earth. That’s how I handle it.

Things which once seemed to be losses to me have years later turned out to be something quite different from what I was thinking at first.

Difficult not to be trite writing about this. I am simply an Elderwoman. Its funny getting feedback from the young ones. Youth knows a good deal – theoretically. Most of the things about life which I know now have been forged and seared and tested and refined and I know my own life very well.  And I know myself very well.

I check  daily. I endeavour  not to live to impress anyone else. I live by a measuring stick of my own.

That means that from time to time I am in a questioning – that I see as a very good thing indeed.

One word to the Wise – don’t underestimate the StoryTeller.

To wrap up the 250 words. Once there was a little girl and she grew.

Day 24: Discuss a spontaneous moment in your life that turned out to be fantastic.

In 2001, someone said to me; “ Best you come with me to the Tweed. “ And I did it. That’s not usual for me.  Just a 2 hour trip South this week has had me tense and fretting for days.

IN 2001, off I went to Tweed. Took off on the afternoon train with a very drunken man. My Mum saw us off and it was the last time I was to see her alive which still tears my heart out. I would rather not  do it quite the same way again but it took me to Tumbulgum, a village which I would later discover had been the original home of my Bell family in the 1800s. It led me to Bilambil and a life of elegance and decency high on a tropical hill.

I heard Big Mark say once that God rules straight lines with a crooked ruler. Out of this spontaneous moment of deciding to follow someone to the Tweed, I was introduced to a strong Fellowship of Peers and to music at the Blues Club which led me to Izzy and to the City of Brisbane which I loved.  It also took me to the City Cats and the University of Queensland campus at St Lucia.

One moment of saying YES where I would normally say NO. It took me into the fields of sugar cane and cane fires at night. To living in a street called Boundary Street which was in NSW on one side and Queensland on the other side. When daylight savings was on in one state and not the other, then there was an hour’s time difference just in crossing the street.

Over the road to get milk took me back one hour and coming back …….. well almost time travel it was. Almost Time Travel.


Meanwhile, back to yesterday’s topic about FRIENDS. Old Fred was known to say that at one time in his life he looked for a lot of love in ONE place – but he had learned to look for  little bits of love in LOTS of places and that it added up to the same amount.

When it comes to Friendship, I incline to that. One dimension of friendship could be simply a smiley on a Facebook page from someone I haven’t met in flesh and another could be as big as providing a home or paying car registration or leaving a hamper of food on a doorstep. Friendship for me wears many disguises and comes in many forms.

That includes what can at times look harsh. The withdrawal of props that might not be truly benefiting the other person. A word spoken which Fear would prefer I didn’t speak.

I have become a little more able to be the Friend that I, specifically, am meant to be. To do the job I am meant to do not the one I think I ought to do or be.

I have been rattled this week in an endeavour to be the Friend which doesn’t fit my nature, skills or the needs of the other person. I will be watching this in myself this week.