BELLINGEN MARKET DAY. I almost didn’t go due to cold and grey skies but off we went and the town was PACKED. Cars all over the place. I’m still not sure why quite so many people came out and about but they did. The featured band was the NINTH CHAPTER. We bump them a goodly bit. Izzy MCed the FLAME TREE FESTIVAL in Grafton when they were on and once we stumbled across the trumpet player at Coffs harbourside Markets. Then Izzy encountered one of them as his case manager during his brief period of unemployment.
I was intending to go up the mountains to Armidale today. I changed my mind. I’m glad of that because there was a bad smash on the connecting road today and someone was killed. All the traffic was re-directed right back down the mountain.
I like Bellingen Markets. Today, I liked the clothing. It was a cold and gloomy day and people were rugged in all manner of garments and colours and footwear.
This time of the year led me to rockbottoming in my life 24 years back. The months of descent and despair. It still arouses those emotions in me. I descend like the Demeter Persephone combination – every year. I have done a lot of ‘ inner work’ to avoid it but every year, it happens again. I rather think that its meant to be that way for me. I once married not long after the end of July. That shows what can happen when a Descent becomes intimidating.
This year, I am. so far, less intimidated by it. Witness Mode, as they call it. Most of the time, I am in Witness Mode.
The Camera helps with that. The Camera takes me out and about and backwards in time. I gives me an implanted feeling. Today, I went to Hungry Head and Urunga, took some pictures and recalled a time 55 years back when an old hermit gave me a handkerchief. Folded. Lacey. Pretty. I wanted to live as he did. Someplace in a cave by the sea.
Those memories take me a little deeper each year and give me a belly middle point to take me into the next 6 months. There is a purpose to descending. Not a lot of gold lies around on the surface.
I have been doing MARKETS since I came back to Bello. Not working at them. Just looking – so far. Look at this beautiful girl with her capes and dresses.
A WRITER ON ONE BENCH AND A READER ON THE NEXT.
I am doubling up on the bench today. It is a very hot day and even young people were taking a break. As for me, my usual timidity kicked in and so I have my usual rear views of people who had been sitting on the bench. I was waiting in Bellingen outside the IGA for Kati B and the Baby. It was on that Bench that a young man came up, lifted my hand to his lips, kissed it and called me Auntie.
Today, a young fella was sitting there when I arrived. He had a guitar in a case, skateboard, suitcase on wheels and backpack. We chatted a while. He was hitching back up North to Brisbane to get rid of all his belongings and then to hitch around Australia. He had been in Brisbane during the Flood. He took my hand, shook it and said, “ My name is Jack.” Then off he went to Kombu to get some food for his hitching. I love young people.
It was one quiet day in Bellingen. Very hot. Just Garbielle’s dog waiting while she shopped.
Silver: Roberta Lowing
from SILVER by ROBERTA LOWING
What: You strap on headphones and crank up the volume.
Friday is here and I am home alone. Just the birds and me after the deep engagement with family and shattered routines. Eyes far ahead of myself. I have Classic FM radio on as well as Van Morrison and INTO THE MYSTIC. I am taking a look for MOONDANCE as well. My sister and I , well we were young in the 60s and 70s. She died on the night of the Full Moon last week. A Marvellous night for a Moondance. Right, that’s the two of them lined up.
“Our eyes far ahead of us, we move over hard ground the only way we know: our hearts follow, our minds follow, unable to resist the music in the slowly turning mists on the horizon.”
I woke to mists this morning. Down here on the dairy flats. Not the winter mists but the mists that signal a hot day coming in. Life at home is in disarray as it ought to be after such a thing. On the clothesline is one pair of swimming shorts, a TShirt and a one pair of undies. They don’t seem to be drying. Not quite. Holding onto the salted moistures. The grasses are overlong and one wheel fell off the lawnmower.
So I sit at the side window at my little desk and let my eyes see far ahead of me. Beyond the hard ground to where the music sings from “ the slowly turning mists on the horizon.”
A MARVELLOUS NIGHT FOR A MOONDANCE
ClassicFM is still powering beside me. On my ancient radio. The Poem is called SILVER. The one where I found those lines about slowly turning mists and hard ground and the music calling. Its an Australian poem. SILVER has brought many images to me this morning. I have long silver hair. Massed and messed and tangled. My sister – well she had lost her hair in the brutal treatments of the brutal diseases. We were girls when the 60s and 70s brought the Dropping Out and far eyes did see distant horizons. Our hair was long then and dark and we dressed in raw silk and wore sandals. We rode in mini mokes and lived in country houses. We took Lovers and bore children.
One comment sent me me this last week was from Chrissie who said “I’ll always remember you 2 as the 2 hippy chicks in urunga 🙂 in the good old days”
This morning, I sit at the side windows. I have the music on and the mists have completely risen and unmasked the Summertime Day. Seems to me the wraiths are with me. The horizon is not so far off as it once was and the music is rather clear. I hear again the old priest of Tumbulgum in his purple shirt reminding me that he and I heard the music of other spheres.
OUR HEARTS FOLLOW.
OUR MINDS FOLLOW.
To children in black dresses and mountain cities. To Old Places and Young People. It was indeed a Marvellous Night for a Moondance and now – INTO THE MYSTIC.
ONE WORD TO THE WISE – DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE STORYTELLER.
Thought I would re-visit the bench in the URUNGA COACH STOP.
A truly sad example of the bench. The structure around it is unmaintained and dirty. The bench is low and uncomfortable.Exposed to elements from all directions except the East. No toilet facilities near to hand. No bus timetable. A place of despair and discomfort rather than a meeting place for holidaymakers. Shame on you, Bello Council !
Take a look at Nambucca Coach Stop. It had some fine benches as well and the drivers and travellers alike were sitting there yaaning.
It is also situated on the edge of the river. Pretty. Comfortable and clean with toilets.
I took this pic today up in Bellingen and round the corner of Hyde Street where noone much is likely to sit.
It’s a bit neglected and a bit broken. The plaque says it was put there by the Bellingen Shire Access Committee. I remember those days when Ian Cooper was fighting to have access for wheelchairs and people with mobility issues. The Council kicked in behind him and the kerb and guttering allowed wheelchair ramps, benches were built – but that was yesterday and yesterday is gone.
I would have sat there today but Baby had had needles and we were taking her home so we kept on going. If I were in Bellingen tonight, I would go and sit there. Hopefully it would be dark, just the full moon, and I could sit quietly and get over the rather difficult day it has been.