willow dilemma [the kitchen incident]...

'Viciousness in the kitchen! 
The potatoes hiss.'

[Sylvia Plath - Lesbos]

The latest victim of the kitchen [pictured above] is a much adored Burleigh Ware 'Willow' plate that I found only a few years ago [for a steal] at a local garage sale. It was a beautiful plate, assigned a very specific purpose - for the grating and presentation of hard cheeses, and in both its form and its function it gave great delight.

So it is that I have to confess wincing a little over this one - our time together seeming entirely too short. Sadly it seems I lacked the forethought to have captured even a simple image of the plate before its graceful fall from its poorly chosen position; atop the drying rack I was pawing through, on my pre-dawn quest for percolator parts and a freshly brewed cup of coffee...

is one to discard the broken shards and be content to cherish the memories of the object as a whole, unbroken? Or does one take to the shards, glue in hand, and strive to hold together that which has been shattered in an attempt to extend the life [support] of an object that can never realistically regain its former function and purpose.

the object was already broken, even when perfect and first caressed by your hands. You have lived with it, loved it and now it is time to let go. Now is the time to gracefully surrender ones attachment; the object as it was, is no more... the object never was really yours... it shared your life for a time, now past... 

head out into the world with eyes fresh and hands open; beauty abounds... 

“Don't despair: despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. 
You don't - surrender to events with hope.”

[Alain de Botton]



Dante, Sisyphus & the Rock …

‘Mumma – this is my rock from the river
Mumma – this is my rock
Mumma – help me to carry it
Mumma – I carry this side and you carry this side
Mumma – we carry my rock together…’

[Dante – 15.9.12]

In his essay The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus describes how Sisyphus was condemned by the Gods for eternity to push a heavy rock up a steep mountain; upon reaching the summit the rock rolls back to the beginning of the journey once more and Sisyphus, resigned to his fate, follows to repeat this futile and infinite cycle.  The aim of the Gods is punishment and retribution, but Camus argues that rather than punishment, in the acceptance of his fate, Sisyphus is instead offered a form of enlightenment... 

[September 2012]
Dante carefully unzips one of her [many] much loved handbags, sourced from various trips to the op shop; takes a generous rock into her hands and gently places it inside. Zipping up the bag, she drapes it over one shoulder, and stretching out her arms begins to drag herself across the floor in her spica cast….

My two year old daughter, who is in plaster from her toes to her hip, has set herself the additional task of carrying a heavy rock.

Dante: [smiling] ‘Mumma my rock is in my beautiful bag…’
This is her rock –  she will wear it in style…

'The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy...' 
[Albert Camus]

[image + text copyright Bek Misic 2013]


sweet solastalgia...

Just a week before the tower of the Babinda Mill met its end, we were driving past on the way to Ella Bay and decided to take a few snaps of this local icon, knowing its days were numbered.  The signs and  chains were all in place and the demolition trucks were already circling like vultures starting to pick at the carcass that the mill had become since Cyclone Larry ended its functional life. 

We have lived in the Far North less than three years, and [as I have written in previous posts] I am no huge fan of the Sugar Cane industry - yet something about this great hulking mass with its rainbows of rust stains and its cavernous absence of utility intrigued me.  Driving past regularly on sojourns to Brampston Beach the tower of the mill provided a geographic reference point for eager children [at the day's beginning], and tired children [at the day's end]; 'look there is the mill, we are almost at Brampston Beach', 'look there is the mill, we are almost back home'... 

One of the things I liked most about the mill was the delight it elicited from Dante, who would always be the first to spot the tower and squeal 'Its the old mill! I LOVE the old mill!'  I have never really managed to extract from Dante just what it was that so commanded her affection, but command it did.  I found myself having to prepare her for the fact that this structure, in which she so delighted, was soon to be no more... 'But WHY Mumma, WHY would someone want to take down the old mill.... I LOVE the old mill...' 

... and there is ultimately the experience of mortality, of being present in a place long enough that one bears witness to change. In a world that is so rapidly changing and evolving, the time in which such change occurs is also quickening.  For those left to bear witness, there is now a term coined by Glenn Albrecht to encapsulate this modern predicament; solastalgia.  

In his 2012 article for The Conversation, titled The Age of Solastalgia he explains the term thus:

Solastalgia has its origins in the concepts of “solace” and “desolation”. Solace has meanings connected to the alleviation of distress or to the provision of comfort or consolation in the face of distressing events. Desolation has meanings connected to abandonment and loneliness. The suffix -algia has connotations of pain or suffering. Hence, solastalgia is a form of “homesickness” like that experienced with traditionally defined nostalgia, except that the victim has not left their home or home environment. 

Solastalgia, simply put, is “the homesickness you have when you are still at home”.

A week after I had taken the images above, we brought home a hard copy of the Cairns Post, not a common occurrence in our family.  The leading story, an image of the fallen tower almost unrecognisable, and there, made real, stirring within me was my first Far North Queensland solastalgic moment.

So it is that this that I find myself in the unexpected position of lamenting the loss of an industrial landmark that I am still not enough of a 'local' to have called my own.  We are yet to drive past to see the 'shattered visage', there is a hesitation, a reluctance, an uncertainty...

... and more words; that came to mind on seeing this fallen 'king' of sugarcane country, a poem by Shelley I first studied in my teens that left a lasting impression...

[Percy Bysshe Shelley]

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away"


[images + text copyright Bek Misic 2013 - unless otherwise stated]


[O]I wish I may, I wish I might...

Today is International Wishbone Day.  Find something yellow and splash it about...

Two and a half years ago I had never heard of Wishbone Day, or the disease it aims to highlight, Osteogenesis Imperfecta. I was a new mother of a beautiful six month old baby girl full of love and light, and I was reveling in my new role and life in Far North Queensland.

Then came the sunny morning when gently pulling a giggling nine month across the bed for a snuggle resulted in a broken elbow.  So began the long journey to a diagnosis of hypermobility and OI, three femur fractures, a compression fracture to her T6 vertebrae and a broken big toe.

My little girl is three now. She is charismatic, vivacious, and beautiful. This Wishbone day she is in plaster from her toe to her hip, in what is called a Spica Cast, which, for the uninitiated, is like blending a medieval torture device with a makeshift chastity belt.  It is both inspirational and painful to witness how readily she is again adapting to life in her cast; but adapt she does - looking out the window of our car from her custom Spica car seat, exclaiming  'Mumma I LOVE the world';

one cannot help but follow her lead...

So this Wishbone Day I am making a list with my little girl - of all the things she CAN do rather than rattling off a list of 'no's' and 'don'ts'...

Because she CAN and she WILL...  never say never ...

Oh,  and what do B1 and B2 have to do with all of this?

Well apart from being in radiant yellow attire, this Bananatastic team have been with my daughter since the day her first Spica was fitted.  Spied at the hospital's fundraising stall, positioned between the tea cosies and the crochet throws they have watched over her since this first [and each subsequent] cast was fitted...

[B2] 'Are you thinking what I'm thinking B1?'
[B1]'OI am B2'
[B2]'Lets wear yellow all day today to help raise awareness of Ostegenesis Imperfecta'
[B1 and B2] 'Bananatastic!!'

Find out more information about Osteogenesis Imperfecta here Wishbone Day


As the sun set on Wishbone Day our home was graced by a double rainbow that ended it's journey by kissing the Pyramid...

'Life is like a rainbow.  You need both the sun and the rain to make its colours appear.'