Childhood Memories of a Younger Sister

Tiny gumboots
plodding ’round the paddocks,
each sun-kissed freckle testament
to another adventure,
Puppy scampering at your side.

Catching tadpoles in the dam,
each tiny captive carefully transported
to the water trough
nearest the house.

Morbid curiosity when
the mobile butcher visits.
No pampered city kids.
Witness even to the miracle
of a new calf born
on Hancock’s farm,
just behind the haybarn.

Hand reared lambs,
tails spinning madly as
they suckle greedily on the teat.
Misty, Pebbles, and Bam Bam.
Calves that slurp and slobber
over outstretched fingers.

Dusty bike rides down gravel roads
to Tomarata Lake
for a swim with no parental supervision.
Carefree fun,
but you soon emerge with blue lips
and shivering limbs,
to bake under the summer sun.

Trying to catch eels
off the old bridge,
and training
for cross country
in a circuitous loop.

Hiding in the toetoe bushes,
sharp blades of grass a warning
not to linger.
The bobby calf pens
make sturdier huts,
but the hay bales in the barn
are more comfortable still.

You loved playing with
the high pressure hose,
gleefully clearing the muck
from the cowshed.
But better yet was sitting,
nattering,
on the cowshed roof
or on the top of the water tank.
Sitting in the loquat tree,
stuffing our faces until our stomachs groaned
and Mum told us off
for ruining our appetites for dinner.

Hiding on the trampoline from
a wayward sheep
intent on butting us all into next week.
Carefully watching snorting bulls
from behind the safety of the fence.
The big orange hereford
gave us the willies.
Trespassers welcome,
the bulls will charge you later, the sign said.
Carefully walking the boards
at the cattle yards,
listening to the auctioneer prattle
while we eyed up the meanest cattle.

A day in the saddle,
riding out to Lawrence Road,
comfortable,
companionable.

Lying on our backs
in the verdant grass,
listening to the cows
chew the cud,
and dreaming
of distant days.

Dusty Memories

Memories float like whispers,
tattered dreams of distant times.
An echo of childish laughter
trips down towards the creek.

The thump of the pump in the old tin shed
laid to rest in a rusty bed.
The gurgle of the creek calls me on,
tempting me,
the forgotten allure of Marmite and watercress sandwiches.

The hay barn where dust motes
danced in shafts of light
and the old abandoned cowshed –
gone.
Destroyed on a path to progress.

But in my dreams, a little girl
who looks a lot like me
still searches for goose eggs to take home for Mother
and sits in the feijoa tree
and dares the world to steal her dreams.

Memories

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

Have you ever had someone say something, ask something or do something that has suddenly catapulted you into an epiphany?  Suddenly everything makes sense.

I was talking to someone at work a few weeks ago about passions. Very few people actually make a living following their passion, and if you do, you’re damn lucky. One of my colleagues has a passion for health and fitness, and he’s starting a part-time business he does outside of work hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day it ends up being his primary source of income. It’s funny, because he didn’t have to tell me that it was his passion, even after only working with him for a few months, it was obvious. Some people’s passions are like that. Others run quiet, I guess. Like mine.

One of my colleagues said that often the reason we didn’t follow our passion was a weak excuse. Like, we just let life get in the way. We didn’t fight hard enough for it. That may well be true. I said that my passion wasn’t really something that earned a lot of money, and that of course triggered the obvious question – what is mine?

I actually had to think about it. I enjoy writing. I enjoy photography. I enjoy family history. I enjoy scrapbooking, journalling, blogging, etc. I have a million projects on the go at any one time. It still amuses me to remember that a friend on Writing.com once told me I needed to get a hobby. I have way too many. Well, maybe not hobbies, but projects. I definitely have too many projects. But which of these is my passion? Well, all of them. Because they all have something in common, and I hadn’t realised it until this question catapulted me into this epiphany.

My passion is preserving memories.

All my projects are about preserving memories. Blogging is about preserving memories. Scrapbooking is about preserving memories. Photography is about preserving memories. Family history is about preserving memories. I’m obsessed with preserving memories.

When people ask what my ultimate fear is, I usually answer that it is losing a loved one. This isn’t a cop out, this is genuinely my biggest fear. But putting aside that obvious (and unoriginal) answer, I have to confess that one of my greatest fears is leaving my projects unfinished. I hate the idea that the memories will be lost because I didn’t get a chance to complete the project.

There is definitely a part of me that wants to leave very clear instructions on how to complete my projects so that they’ll never been left unfinished, whatever happens to me. Is that weird? Am I totally nuts? I can’t see my husband ever completing them for me. Maybe my little sister would, but she’s got kids and a life on the other side of the ocean, she doesn’t have time for my projects. Maybe my daughter would one day. *shrugs* Maybe I should stop procrastinating and finish them myself!  After all, they’re my passion, right?