What does it for you?

Saturday 16 August 2008

I have concluded that the thing that does it for me when I am feeling ill or down - that leads me on, keeps me hanging on - is a sense of wonder. Whenever I slip down into a funk, what tends to start drawing me out again is something kind of ethereal, something God-reminiscent maybe, something that makes me sit back and go, "Wow!" A lot of the time it's nature. A lot of the time it's science-philosophy stuff. The nature of time. Quantum mechanics. It reminds me, as I need reminding a lot lately, that this crap boring thing we are stuck in, this dull as dishwater culture, is far less real than the reality of quantum mechanics. That's the sort of thing that keeps me hanging on, you know?

How about you? What things are there that are guaranteed to get you ever so slowly sitting up just a little bit straighter, feeling the stirrings in your heart again?

This afternoon I lay on the couch and watched a show about the rains that come to Lake Eyre, in central Australia, every five years or so and cover it salt bed with water. The life that flourishes in the drought is quite amazing. The land, it can look to untrained eyes like nothing may dwell there but it teems, even in the drought. The colours - oh, the colours make me ache. The red of the earth, the blue of the sky, the pale yellow and green of saltbush. When the rainy season hits, it's quite phenomenal. Masses of pelicans, thousands of them. A frog, which hibernates down under the earth - often for several years - survives in the dryness by encasing itself in a strange moisture sac. Until the rains come, dripping through the ground, onto the sleeping frog. It wakes. The sac becomes the first meal it's eaten since it's long snooze, and then its out onto the surface to dance and mate and eat and drink until the rains depart once more, and it's back underground again.

The thorny devil stands in the rain, soaking it in. In fact, it doesn't soak it in so much as it drains it in, the water running past its spikes, in rivulets directly into its mouth. Ingenious.

The wildflowers bloom in great swathes of colour across the desert, dazzling the senses. Bunches of wild budgerigars, shocking in their greenness, hang about on trees. Their mating style makes me laugh out loud. Big on bouncy exuberance, short on time.

It amazes me, the way eyes are adapted like sun visors to desert conditions, the way the red kangaroo can go for several months without drinking anything at all. The humour that is inherent in so many different things. The bird that does some kind of crazy mating dance to impress its wooee, a seed in its mouth like a flamenco dancer. The origins of how it all came about is irrelevant to me in some ways. I'm far too enamoured with looking at it, far too glad that I live in a time where I can watch the amazing camerawork of people labouring in love so that I can wonder, marvel, joy - and yes, even cry at the Personality that to my mind screams its joy through everything.

Image: Thorny Devil by Nokes


  1. that was lovely to read, and this is, exactly what makes me forget about all the other crap I usually spend my time worrying about. Just getting down to the level of nature (or up, not sure) losing yourself in the world of the creatures that live around us. Its a beautiful thing (thanks Axl)
    Im so depressed today, so utterly fed up with myself..maybe I need to go and watch national geographic or animal planet! or better still, go and lie in the grass somewhere (pity about the rain!)
    I love the sound of that frog burying itself deep underground, I wish I could do the same sometimes!

  2. nature, yes. You're right, wonder!
    the right music
    good friends
    a good meal
    sometimes only sleep/ rest
    ...God's graces.( Sometimes I know only He can get me out of it, when he chooses- no matter what I try). Last night we went out to a winery and discovered some kittens hiding in some piles of wood which we played with... my husband also happened to spot a small(not so small) turantula crawling on the grass... He pretty much spotted all the wildlife. I'm just glad he did.

  3. Oh, Sue! Yes!

    How about me? That stuff, just what you say - and all of it around us, here in damp green Dorset, the little collared doves in the big cedar, the periwinkles in the rock-pools, the gulls along the tide-line and the buzzards mewing on the updraughts... and the wonderful ivy-leaved toadflax in the churchyard walls, its little roots clinging in the crevices, its tiny tiny snapdragon flowers, palest mauve, held up to the soft rain...

    Oh God, you have done all things well!

    Thank you, Sue!


  4. Andi - yeah, definitely, I'd like to bury myself underground sometimes - forever! :) Give me a call over the next few days if you feel like bellowing your woes. ((Hug))

    Manuela - did you play with the tarantula as well? :) It's funny you should mention God's graces. It keeps recurring lately. I think someone is trying to tell me something. Last night I listened to Anne Lamott talking at Grace Cathedral, which Kent linked to a few days ago, and her descriptions of grace were just wonderful. Shame I've got Flu Head and can't remember them :)

    Mike - buzzards mewing on the updraught. That gives me a feeling, that phrase. It's the same feeling I get when I hear seagulls in the dark, like the other night. Reminds me of things I've forgotten adn places I've never been :)

  5. there's wisdom in nature :)

  6. Louise! A bolt from the blue! Return email in the wings and I'm off to read your blog :)

    Kel - indeed there is :) Thanks to your hubby for posting those pics :)

  7. nah, what gets me through is the knowledge that if I die no one will be able to torture my friends and family as well as I do ;)

    and the fact that too many church folk would look on it as judgement from above, which always makes me smile in an evil and vindictive sort of way rofl

    But truly, the one thing that gets me through is how my children come to my aid when I am sick. They live on toast and fruit before bothering me if I am really down for the count, and sometimes they come and pet me and kiss me and read to me and draw pics.

  8. You are evil. You're an evil bitch.

    "... sometimes they come and pet me and kiss me and read to me and draw pics." That is so gorgeous :)

  9. Yeah, if only they acted that way when I am healthy! Instead of fighting, ooh, one more week and school starts, those boys need to be away from each other!


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