November; an admission that the year didn’t go to plan.
The idea behind the Year of 30 Days was to throw myself passionately into a topic, a new topic, each month. This year, the usually-reliable Year Of format turned into a standard run-of-the-mill new year’s resolution – in the bin by mid February.
There was a post about March, but it was a reflection on what I’d learnt rather than a record of what I’d planned to learn.
Big new plans sidelined every other activity for about four months. I’m just now picking up the threads and working out where each sits in the overall picture. Today is the day I write again. Where will it lead?
The missing months were spent sorting, packing, discarding, transporting and ultimately relocating to the home town of my family. It’s called a tree change, a move from city to country. A minor switch on the concept of a sea change, where people from the inland move to the coast. I haven’t lived here since I was 17. That was a long time ago.
The move involved cleaning the house I’d rented for the last six years. The cleaning involved plenty of time for reflection. It was a big house.
No. 3b was “the house down the back”. That’s how I described it to new visitors. A single driveway was the only road frontage. The house was girded half by lawn, half by concrete. The concrete couldn’t be cleaned properly because the run-off ran under the dividing fence into 3a. Not particularly neighbourly. For six months of each year, an amazingly large tree in the backyard of No. 1 filled gutters and covered anything left outside. I didn’t realise this when I moved it. If the people in 3a didn’t tend to the leaf litter and seed pods on their side, the wind would blow them under the fence to my side. It proved a lot of work for one person. A lot of it didn’t get done in a timely manner.
It was a brick house, outside and in. That was the attraction. It was an earth house.
You might not subscribe to such ideas. It seems reasonable to the sociologist in me that our learnt cultural symbols and patterns will influence how we respond behaviourally to types of housing.
For example, my previous rental at No. 19 was a water house. There was a large hole in the backyard where the pool had been. Next to it, a water barrel was set up as a pond. An old water pump, one of the manual ones, stood tall in a garden bed. The roof was a dark bitumen blue; it sloped up and back from the front door to create an horizon with the sky.
It felt creative. I thought I would be very creative in that house. I hung my blue beaded door curtain beside the front door. The breeze became the sound of water flowing.
Unfortunately, I was paranoid about scratching the wooden floor, so not much creativity happened inside. Nevertheless, water will find its way. I got creative in the garden and took pottery classes just up the road.
The earth house at No. 3b was timely because I was about to start studying again. Learning grounds us. The plan was to live there while completing a Masters degree part time. I learnt a lot more than just the ins and outs of public administration.
I learnt to embrace the digital world. That little sentence is a big sentence for a 50 something who shunned mobile phones for as long as possible.
That embrace then opened up a multitude of other learning opportunities. Blogging was motivation to learn even more. Every brick in those walls exerted influence. I learnt how to be well.
So what now? Water? Earth? Fire? I’m not sure. I’m house-sitting at No. 10 for my sister and her husband, looking after a beautiful dog and some bright birds.
Interestingly, I haven’t attributed any cultural or elemental symbols to No. 10. Am I an epiphyte? Loosely attached? Epiphytes have minimal soil requirements. They are things like mosses, lichens, algae, some ferns and orchids. Epiphytes are harmless, drawing their energy from the sun and moisture from the air.
That will be me for the next 5 weeks. A child of the sun and daughter of the rain.
Are we El Nino or La Nina at the moment?