by Georgina Mavor
Like Geoffrey Rush in a scene from the movie ‘Shine’ I found my seven year old daughter jumping on her trampoline in the rain, naked except for knickers and a bright yellow raincoat. Her face alive, eyes gleaming, blonde hair ‘stringy’ and wild, she was relishing the first drops of rain after a very long, hot, endless, dry, summer. Living close to the ocean, any summer storm rain clouds tended to pass over the rooftops, dropping their precious loads when they hit the hills further inland. There is a silence in the air here, rain hasn’t broken that space since Winter last year.
I raise my seven year old daughter in an eclectic suburb originally built upon European migrants and the vegetables they toiled. The market gardens have been taken over by later generations of Vietnamese refugees and moved further afield. What remains is the architecture and lifestyle of (formerly) Yugoslavian, Greek and Italian peoples. Terrazza porches, fig trees, broad beans, the odd white lion or pillars at the front gate, the outdoor living areas around the back of homes, families often still living next door to each other, speaking their native language or its regional dialect.
In a rough attempt at self sustainability I converted my original English style front lawn into a vegetable garden. But with increasing shortages in water and time, I have replanted with native trees and plants, a small food source for a rich local birdlife. Brightly coloured red, blue, green and yellow cockatoos, pink and grey galahs, endangered black cockatoos, singing wattle birds, greeneyes, black and white magpies, their smaller cousins the mudlarks, the cheeky willy wag tails and the endlessly procreating doves. Of an evening, with the sun setting behind the Eucalyptus trees in front of my home, I sit and enjoy the cacophony of this birdlife in my raggle taggle garden while I write and reflect.
But my soul wrestles with this place. The colours are vivid, the light intense and the air filled with the oil of the Eucalypts. They are a pivotal counterbalance to the unsettling feeling that prevails here. Perth is the most isolated city in the world, but I don’t think this accounts for it’s aloofness in spirit. Those closest to some of the Aboriginal Elders say it is rich in Dreaming energy here. Our homes are built within 50,000 years of indigenous terrain. Trees and huge stretches of native bush interspersed throughout the built environment, transmitting their energy to confuse and unsettle us. Like my daughter on the trampoline flying high in the air, her face calling to the heavens, her feet searching for the earth below, I often experience the same, vacillating between one or the other. Maybe my home really is part of a built environment plonked in the middle of Dreamtime, maybe that accounts for its quirkiness. And maybe it’s just all the eucalyptus oil in the air sending us all a little bit dreamlike as we meander about our day.
Georgina Mavor is a Psychologist and Book Artist combining her love of words, writing, art and story with healing. Visit her blog at: http://www.georginamavor.blogspot.com