Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fragments of Friends #2 by Ky

My father gave me a gun. My mother washed my clothes.
Walking past my friend's rainwater tank, stepping carefully quietly, though firmly, took me back to a hunter. Downwind of a mob of kangaroos, stepping quietly so they wouldn't hear or feel, but firmly enough for nearby snakes to feel the earth shake, then they'd move away.
The roos would stand up from feeding if they felt you.
Little ones would carry on, the boomer if suspicious would raise one leg and strike the ground, a warning to be watchful. The young bucks would pay attention, moving ears, looking around, and sniffing the air. You'd have to be still and wait.
If the boomer raised both legs lifting himself on his tail, and brought both legs down with a louder thump you knew you only had a few seconds to get a shot away before some moved away, usually the females first. If the boomer didn't move they'd stop at a distance.
A double thump, striking the ground twice rapidly in succession, they'd all turn immediately and leap away.
A young buck, the best meat, leapt away jumping long. As he was at the top of his leap a quick shot sent a bullet through his brain. A total fluke shot. Could take that shot a thousand times and not hit anything.
Dead in mid air he fell, skidded tumbling on the ground and came to a stop.
Immediately gutted with a bowie knife there was less weight to carry. The intestines left for ants foxes crows or eagles.
To carry a hole was cut in each ear and through the end of the tail. A green short stick cut and sharpened at one end was pushed through one ear, the tail, and then the other ear. With his tail over my shoulder it was like carrying a shoulder bag.
By now the sun was setting and it was a dusk walk a couple of kilometres home.
One time i carried three home, one on each shoulder and the other slung over my neck. My shirt, shorts, legs, and bare feet covered in blood.
Once home the roo was hung up under the trellis grape vines off the back verandah, to be skinned in the morning.
Then it was to the snake infested woodheap to chop wood, light the copper, carry buckets of water to fill the copper, wait half an hour or so, and then carry buckets of warm hot water to a wash tub, to wash the blood off.
We didn't have electricity.
My mother would wash my clothes the next day on a scrubbing board in a wash trough, using soap made from animal fat from other killed animals.
Couldn't make roo soap, they didn't have much fat on them.

The next day nothing was wasted. Skinned, his hide nailed to a shed wall.
Tail for kangaroo tail soup. Steak and roast cuts put in the meat safe hanging from the verandah roof or in summer, kept cool in the coolgardie safe, water soaked  hessian over a metal frame.
Offal to eat, meat and bones for the pigs chooks and dogs. Sinews for string. His scrotum dried for a handy bag or purse. Could drill  holes in claws and toes, thread with sinew for necklaces or bracelets.
Roo claws are hard and strong. If a roo took a dog into a swamp or lake, out of a dogs depth, their claws and powerful forearms would hold a dog under the water to drown it, and lifting one leg, disembowl it with one strike.
Once he hit the ground this roo went in all different directions. His hide tanned, now a floor rug in a swanky apartment in London.
In his final bounding leap he travelled a long way.

I grew up alone in the bush. Dirt poor, no money, but always plenty of food.
Good, natural, healthy food. Roos, rabbits, parrot pie, bronze wing pigeon. My father had a recipe for cooking galahs. They were tough. Drop them into a pot of boiling water with an axehead. When the axehead was soft the galah was cooked. Catching parrots was fun. Soak some wheat in kitchen cooking sherry and spread it around.  When the parrots got drunk could chase and catch them.
The toys i had to play with were sticks and stones and my brain.My backyard was one thousand square kilometres of bush, and if i crossed one road, another thousand.
One time my father tracked a six year old city boy lost there, for three days and nights. The boy had gathered leaves and fallen branches to keep himself warm on the freezing nights. My father showed me a letter he'd received from the commissioner of police, thanking him for finding the boy.
Coastal woodland and wetlands.
Jarrah, Redgum, Paperbark, Blackboy, (though supposed to call them grasstrees i think in order not to offend someone), Boronia, oceans of gold Morrison, Swamp Banksia, Bull Banksia, (wonder if that is offensive to cows).
Some people take up a big chunk of their ego with being offended.
Raised by rocks trees kangaroos sheep birds chooks pigs and dogs i didn't have a huge vocabulary. Could see and feel things though.
Lying on the ground, atoms melting into the earth, merging with the earth's energy and love field, sometimes could see everything.
Could talk to trees but only listen to rocks. They're the wisest people on the planet. Everything in my world is made of sticks and stones, rocks and trees. I heard a politician talking about 'treehuggers'. I thought he must be talking about me. I've been hugging trees since i could crawl.
Crawling through a patch of lupins one day, I'd felt the earth moving around, and knew if i kept crawling towards the sunset i would end up back in this place.
So i did that. A couple of times around it, and round about it.
I had grown up in paradise. I didn't know the world that humans had created.
Other than the whispers, of the economics of the great depression, the politics of war, social justice, and compassion. My parents never ever abused me, physically, emotionally, or psychologically. I grew up in love.

High times at the Creepy House

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fragments of Friends by Ky

There are a few new posts under this one too, by the way, so don't miss out on them. But this is the exciting bit. There will be a new serial on A WineDark Sea, starting today. Remember when I threw open AWDS for guest posters? My mate Ky took it seriously. So seriously, he's about six months seven thousand words over the limit but he's come up with a beautiful series of stories about his life and loves over decades. I'll post the first segment today and then twice a week. I hope you enjoy. Take it away Ky ...

Fragments of Friends

'Let your love be disgraceful, crazy and wild. If you are too holy god will escape you'
I was her age now when I met her. She was selling handmade jewelry in a
marketplace. She was 20, in love, and almost pregnant.
One of those people you want to know forever and to whom I've now had to say goodbye.
On the road i have said goodbye to many friends acquaintances, passer-byes, angels, lovers and over time it became easy, accept the inevitable and move on.
It wasn't so easy to say goodbye to this friend. 

I met Steph sitting by a backyard campfire. Three years later in a small room she gave me a stone sculpture, could be held in two hands. It was of two lovers in a Thomas Moreish embrace, sculpted by a mutual friend. Of us.
It was my turn to have it.
Seven years later she flew around the world to visit me in the Kimberly. We had always written and now that i was no longer a chauvanistic controlling arsehole she had appreciated my help in moving with her through her divorce. We spent a week by rivers and gorges, unfinished business, saying goodbye.
Now it was her turn to have the sculpture.
Last year she flew around the world to visit me, for a day. We hadn't seen each other in 39 years, though often a birthday and xmas card and the occasional phone call. We exchanged photos so we would recognize each other. Now that Essa had gone it was my turn.
We would never have not recognised each other.

If it took seven years to say goodbye to Steph, it took twenty minutes to say goodbye to Jan.
Things were improving, I'd learnt a few things.
Jan was passing by, going in a different direction.
A complete stranger, a few hours before she was moving on, i saw her reclining in rest, eyes closed but awake. She looked like an angel. I watched the four seconds it took to change my life, i watched my arm reach out and my finger touch her lips. She kissed my finger.
We spent the next year being together, living together, traveling together.
When i drove her to the airport i didn't watch her leave. I drove 10 minutes to a country lane, climbed into the back of the van where in that same place we had made love half an hour before, and i howled, cried, sobbed and wailed.For twenty minutes, wrenching every last drop from me until there was nothing left. Absolutely nothing. The grief howled out. All that was left was a nothing full of life and light.
Got out of the van, threw my clothes into the hedgerow, put fresh clothes on, and drove into a clear blue sky.
Wonder what will happen now.

It became easy to say goodbye. Simply accepting what was happening.
Dozens, hundreds of people appeared. In minutes, in hours, days weeks months, sometimes decades. Always the few with an instant no mind connection, seeing their energy and their bones. And over time watching them drift away. All those goodbyes.
I will always love them, it's not possible not to.
I will always remember them.
I thought about them every day. ....... for awhile. .

Now there's only a handful of friends. Lovers long gone since Essa left.
And the memories are starting to drift away also. Those fingers of dementia reaching out from the horizon to flick them away, and you don't know they're gone until you remember them, and then they're gone again.
I remember things not thought of for fifty years and gasp in astonishment and pleasure at the recall. I know i won't remember it again. .. unless i write it down.
Sometimes i tell a story and by the time i get to the point of it, I've forgotten it.
That creeping dementia.
I am grateful to my friend for taking me to memories before i lose them. Memories not triggered by anyone else. 

My friend has also drifted away, moved on. She has given me so much joy, especially in recent years. Adventures and conversations with a beautiful soul.
She speaks with intent.
Convoluted, shambolic, ornery, fractious, forgetful, diffident, all an alibi for spontaneity, commitment, heartfelt generosity and love.
Living moment to moment on the feral fringe. Like a wandering stray, an animal that wanders off from the mob into the bush.
She has been a catalyst, particularly this year, for so many memories .... of saying goodbye.
So many memories that i want to seize, before they're gone forever.
As it slowly fades who will now stretch my memory in so many different directions.