Once in a blue Beltaine moon

October 31, 2020 at 9:25 pm (Uncategorized)

The city looked weird. I felt deeply uncomfortable. There was only one other person in my train carriage, but their mask was slung low, under their nose. I moved seats. When I got off at Flinders Street Station in central Melbourne, there were few passengers. Ambling across the concourse instead were groups of police, navy blue uniforms stark against the pale Edwardian tiles. They seemed chatty, buoyant. I walked, head down. Then a pigeon flew out from behind a pillar, and I flinched.

It takes time to adjust to freedom, and I was not quite there.

Melbourne is opening again. We had 71 days of Stage Three restrictions, followed by 111 days of Stage Four; one of the longest and harshest lockdowns in Covid so far. It’s been…well, quite something. And doubtless something we’ll be processing for a long time to come.

My last post talks about the challenges; this one will catalogue the crutches that helped me through it (if we’re there, in fact – I’m taking nothing for granted anymore). Tonight, on Beltaine in the Southern Hemisphere, we’re welcoming the approaching summer, the turn of the seasons, the full blue moon. We’re welcoming the light back. So here’s where mine gets in.

Reading art books on Dürer, Jan van Eyck and Goya. Trading ideas with my publisher about book covers for my debut novel next year. Mentioning on Instagram that I was teaching myself bass tabs to my beloved Babes In Toyland, and having the bass player herself chime in with advice…total fan girl swoon. Then learning how to play the songs she suggested. Exploring the literature of Iceland, and translating idioms with an Icelandic friend for my novel. Being delighted and surprised by the joy of boxing, and the release of cutting all my nails off to fit in the gloves. Taking part in an online book club to discuss the incredible Helen Garner, and having the author herself join us for two hours of intoxicating chat. Nina Hagen devotional chants in my studio.  And thrillingly, being approached about writing a book of narrative non-fiction once my novel edits are finished, and the delicious teasing out of stories that encourages.

My fat black cat has a hole in the laundry door she barrels through to get into our jungle courtyard. It used to have a flap, but her sheer girth smashed the fibreglass into tiny pieces long ago. She noses around the garden then howls at the kitchen door for us to let her back in. She seems to forget she could simply come back in the same way she left. The exit and entry are muddled; she doesn’t quite know what to do with her freedom. I feel much the same way right now. It could trigger tender memories of the years in my youth I spent agoraphobic, if I let it. But then I can also recall the feeling of standing at my front door, blinking at the sunshine, gaining courage.

It’s Beltaine, after all, and I know the light is coming.

1 Comment

  1. Martin c said,

    A merry Beltane to you and your,s. I hope the new cycle brings better times..Nina Hagen is one very strange and fascinating creature. We,ve swapped a couple of chats on twitter..she pretty far out there…😄

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