Neptune’s son

By Vita Forest


 

Max

Shrieking though the crashing surf

Slings strands of seaweed

Festoons his shoulders

Drapes his head

with Rapunzel’s hair gone green or

A khaki feather boa or

Rusty rapper’s chains

Strung with salt-filled beads.

 

Max

Rolling and leaping over the breakers

Flinging a length of kelp

Around and

around

Over his head

Like the blades

Of the curious open-topped helicopter we watch

Tracing the coastline overhead.

 

Max

Amid the islands of kelp floating

In and out on the waves

Throwing himself backwards over the

Foaming breakers

Like a

Happy seal

Falling back against the force of the water

Grinning fit to burst.

Advertisements

R is for… Red

By Vita Forest

IMG_4085[1]

Scarlet, cherry, ruby, burgundy… there are so many words that call themselves red.  And my world is festooned with it.  In the garden, the tomatoes swell and hang heavy on the vine.  Ripening from green to red in the hot summer sun.  The chillies are little streaks of scarlet too, concentrating their fire inside each tiny cone.  The capsicums positively glow, and underneath drooping leaves, the prickly skins of magenta strawberries hide.

And flowers!  Nasturtiums send their snaking tendrils across the gravel path, gold and orange and cherry red.  At the centre of each petal, the colour deepens to burgundy.  I hold a flower up to the sky and watch how the light glows through the fluted skin of each bloom and pick a bunch for my bedside.  Each morning, the nasturtiums have colonised the path even more, stretching, reaching, flinging across the gap, trying to get to the other side.  Occasionally, a wheelbarrow will slice through a strand and end its progress, but I will not have them cut back.  Ramsey sighs and presses his lips together at this instruction.

“They will trip you Madam,” he predicts pessimistically.

“They will not,” I retort from deep within my vortex of happiness.  I need the colour, I need the wildness, I do not want it tamed.

Rory noticed my fondness for these radiant jewels and passed me one of their speckled, round leaves.

“Eat it,” he ordered.

“Truly?” I frowned.  Sometimes I feel I know nothing.

He folded one up and crammed it between his teeth chewing slowly.

I followed his example, my eyes widening at the peppery heat in my mouth.

He laughed and handed me mint to cool my insides down.

I can practically see the garden growing, practically hear it.  The sun sending beams of light and heat down to the upstretched greenery, until seed pods pop – insides bursting free, fruit swells and strains against its tightly stretching skin, buds are peeled open, petal, by papery petal.  And insects hover and swoop and suck and drown.

Each fallen peach is crawling with drunken wasps and bees, drawing up the nectar, fighting the birds for each precious drop.  (Have you ever eaten a warm peach fresh from the tree?  It would send you wild with desire too.)

All my senses are heightened.  My eyes are drawn to every bead of red amongst the cooling green of the leaves, the colours singing against each other.  There is even a bird that carries this contrast with it – the king parrot.  Green and red, red and green, they fly in pairs and chime to each other through the trees.  The sound seems to ring through my head.  And who can walk through the garden without sniffing the rising scents in the air, dizzying me as much as the insects that zigzag ecstatically amongst the fruit trees.  And eating!  I hardly need dinner after sampling the harvest, the cornucopia we work amongst, a warm red tomato here, a streaky-skinned capsicum there, biting into it, crunching into it, juice dripping off my chin.

If I close my eyes and sit very still, I can feel the sun working its magic on me too.  Coaxing out new shoots, unclenching all the knots and tightness in my back, expanding my chest.

I am a seed carried on the wind.  I am a fruit splitting in the sun.  I am a tendril uncoiling.

 

 

 

J is for… Joy

By Vita Forest

IMG_4077[1]

Pip is lying under the edge of the big fig tree, head resting on her bag, trying to keep cool, trying to study, trying not to think about Sam.  Speaking of Sam, a shadow falls across her body and she squints up into the sun.  Hallowed by the heat haze is a very Sam-like shape, hair sticking out in all directions, long arms hanging by his side, skinny jeans, even in this heat.  Sam.

She sits up and shades her eyes with her hand, “Hi.”

“Hi,” he answers, “Wanna come for a swim?”

Pip looks down at her book then up at this silhouetted vision again.

“Sure, she says, “I’ll just grab my things. Whose coming?”

He shrugs and grins at her, “Just us I think.”

She looks down as she packs up her bag so he won’t see her blush.

“Oh.”

 

The bus is hot and old and crowded, no air-conditioning.  The windows are pushed open as wide as they can go.  They hang off a pole together near the door, taking big gulps of the breeze that blasts through the bus every time the doors open.  At the Junction, a lot of people get off and then they move to a seat.  Pip is very aware of the entire right side of her body pressing into the entire left side of Sam’s.  Shoulder to shoulder, tricep down to elbow, hip to knee.  Does he do this to every person he sits next to?  Or is it just her?  They chat merrily away, like they usually do, but Pip feels the heat rise to her face and concentrate along that line of contact down her right side.  Sam holds her gaze for just a moment longer than is necessary, or is she just imagining it?  Perhaps today is the day.  The bus barrels down the hill and Pip grips the top of the seat in front of them, Sam grabs her elbow as the bus swings around a corner.  Their eyes meet.

Today could be the day, thinks Pip.

 

They leap off the bus and run down the hill to the sand.  They peel off sticky clothes and run to join the hordes in the water.  Pip sinks underwater as a wave crashes over her.  She feels her body relax and cool in the thrumming silence.  She rises up again above the water into the heat and the light and the noise.  Sam is there beside her, hair slicked back by the sea water, grinning at her.  She takes a deep breath and watches the waves driving in toward them.  There is time, she thinks, time to find his hand underwater.  Time to pull him toward her, time to wrap her arms around those shoulders, those shoulders of his! Time to lean in…

“Pip!”

Sam grabs her shoulders and pulls her down as the wave crashes over them.  She splutters and coughs and finds his hands underwater.  She grips them tightly.  They rise to the surface again.  She looks at him.

Today is the day.

 

Hats off to…

By Vita Forest

Hats off to some fabulous blogs

Hats off to some fabulous blogs

Earlier this week I had a surprise.  Jen from A Venturing Girl has nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award!  Thank you Jen and please check out her lovely blog too.

I only started this blog in July, so am pretty new to the blogosphere, but am enjoying it so much.  It has been a wonderful way to connect with so many people – around the world and here in Sydney, both on and off-line.

Jotterizing started as a place for me to practise writing, to become disciplined, to explore topics of interest and to connect with like-minded people.  You can read more on this here.

Some advice to new bloggers…

  • schedule it into your week/month/whatever time-frame and stick to it.  Give yourself permission to post things that you don’t think are perfect.  This is not your novel, this is your blog – get it out there!
  • be prepared to be surprised – ideas for posts come from the strangest places.  Be open.

It’s been wonderful seeing what others out there are doing too.  So many creative and hardworking individuals.  Thank you for your generosity and bravery.  I’d like to nominate the following blogs for the Blogger Recognition Award:

The Daily Think

A Narcissist writes letters, to himself

susannevalenti

Follow your bliss

Daily (w)rite

Through open lens

The Stone Soup

Things we like

James Radcliffe. com

A little bird tweets

The Renegade Press

Aniket Sharma Photography

Glitchy Artist

Friday Madness

Ann Wood Handmade

If you blog appears in the above list, here are the rules of the Blogger Recognition Award:

  1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you
  2. Give a brief story of how your blog got started
  3. Give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers
  4. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog
  5. List those you’ve nominated in the post and comment on their blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them.

If you haven’t seen the blogs above, take a look!  They are great!

 

Stargazing

By Vita Forest

IMG_3060[1]

On a hot Wednesday night, I lay on the floor, my bare feet resting on the sofa.  Zadie (the cat) walked up to me and paddled her feet on my belly before lying on my chest and closing her eyes.  Max came and lay beside me and put his feet up too.

“Ah nice,” he said, looking up at the ceiling.  “Look you can see the stars!”  and you could too – those glowing stars that I had stuck on the ceiling from atop a ladder.  At night they bring a smile to my face when I turn out the light.

We lay there basking in the starlight.

Lucy came and sat beside us, talking to her dad on the phone.

“Lucy you are disturbing our serenity!  Please go and talk somewhere else!”  She grudgingly moved on, accompanied by Zadie.

“You can see the sunset too, ” noticed Max, and it was true, over the top of the sofa, you could see the warm glow on the lamp in the dining room.

“And the moon is square tonight,” we continued.

Ah serenity!

On Thursday, about midday, we were writing a procedure about How to make an origami cup, or How to make a paper cup, or even just, How to make a cup.  Between writing up Step 3 and Step 4, those faster kids who were not helping others came to sit on the floor to wait.  Paulo lay back exhausted from all the thinking and all the writing.  It reminded me of our indoor stargazing from the night before, so I told them the story.

Soon the floor was covered in small people lying on their backs, looking up at the sky.  There was a rectangular moon this time, and even the remains of a spider.

Ah serenity!

The best thing ever

By Vita Forest.

IMG_2553

A detail from a starry sky

Today at school we did a “best thing ever!”  It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon.

My gang of six and seven year olds were preparing the background for an artwork that will be used for fundraising for the school.  I decided we would use their favourite background.  This involves getting a thick white crayon and drawing stars all over a piece of white paper.  “I can’t see what I’m doing!”  and “I’m going to do it under the table so I can see!” and “You can feel it with your fingers!” are some of the comments you hear around the classroom.  Some of the stars are  snowflakes – eight-pronged, made of straight lines shooting off in all directions, others are celestial beings of the scribbly spiral variety.  Some artists arranged theirs in neat grids, while others have stars cascading over their page in a more haphazard fashion.

We first did this artwork earlier in the year when we were making book covers for all the exercise books they would use.  There’s a green one for Spelling, a yellow one for Maths and this blue one for Handwriting practise.  At that time, Master Billy exclaimed on putting brush to paper, that it was “the best thing ever!”  I was glad to hear he still feels this way six months later.

With Bach wafting around the classroom, the children came up to the art table clad in oversized t-shirts and stood before a glimmering pot of turquoise dye.  Brandishing brushes like magic wands, they streaked blue over the paper’s surface and there, right in front of their eyes, the stars burst forth.  Magic indeed!

One of the class Mums came to chat after school and oohed in delight too.

“The simple pleasures!” she exclaimed.

What more does anyone need?

Winter picnic

By Vita Forest

IMG_2506[1]

Today we had a winter picnic.

The place: Wendy Whiteley’s garden, Lavender Bay.

The Participants: Sui Sui and Allesandro, Saskia and Laura, Lucy and I.

And Rowdy the 5th (dog explorer).

The food: Baba ganoush, cauliflower and hummus dips with breads and vegies

Mini quiches with bacon and parmesan, caramelised onion and cherry tomatoes, pumpkin and fetta.

A crisp crunchy salad with celery and apple.

Homemade cupcakes with raspberry icing and Florentines.

Tea applied generously from two thermoses.

Though the forecast insisted on rain, the winter sun shone brightly, warming our backs as we lounged on the picnic rugs. Rowdy explored the circle allowed by his lead attached to a metal stake driven into the ground. We sat above the garden on a flat stretch of lawn, watching the boats drift by below, and hearing the occasional screams from Luna Park.

We talked books, travel and movies. Laura and Lucy cartwheeled around us. Rowdy barked at dogs moseying by, until an unleashed poodle caused so much excitement, he tore his stake from the ground and raced after it. The girls chased Rowdy up and down the grass, as the poodle’s owner tried unsuccessfully to retrieve a foil cupcake case it had swiped.

Sui Sui made tea, adding milk from a small china jug wrapped in cling wrap that had travelled there inside a lunch box. Laura did a handstand against her Mum’s back, then she and Lucy did them either side of the thick rough trunk of a palm tree.

We swapped and returned books. Bibliophiles all. We planned future reading, we rated recent movies, we laughed. We packed up the picnic and descended into the garden, exploring the narrow paths winding back and forth along the terraces on the hill, holding onto curving balustrades made from fallen branches and climbing steep steps of stone.   We crushed spears of lavender between our fingers. We ran our hands over smooth tree trunks, and a polished granite bust that Laura thought might be useful for practising kissing.

The girls wanted a game of Hide and seek. We chatted for a count of fifty then set off along the paths. Laura was discovered but where was Lucy? We called and called, crisscrossing up and down. I imagined her laughing at us, stealthily sneaking along behind the squawking adults.

“Lucy! Lucy!”

Eventually she was found on the far edge of the garden, having discovered a vegetable plot, containing some plants with usefully large leaves. As we left the garden, Saskia looked up and saw the creator on her balcony.

“Thank you Wendy!” she called.

Wendy waved back.

We walked through the tunnel to the bay. Rowdy raced up and down, the girls disappeared up a fig tree. We stood by the water and talked jazz and road trips and Allesandro’s special diner in Bowral.

Next time, we think we’ll bring some wine.