We are in the Blue Mountains. 5 brilliant red and blue wild crimson rosella parrots live in the backyard of the house, and come right up to the bird feeder on the porch. A glorious Australian Magpie sits on the porch rail looking stately. On our way here we went to a grove where cockatoos flew freely and congregated in large groups. This is a bird lover’s paradise. The house is equipped with a rolling commode, 2 wheel-in showers and a hoyer lift. All the halls and doors are wide. It’s as perfect a handicapped house as I’ve ever seen.
On the way here we laughed and marveled at some of the signage. We saw some rough looking fellows “erecting” a scaffolding for the Viagra Scaffolding Company. The logo is a comic strip sexy woman whose breasts fly in the face of Sir Isaac Newton’s Law. The hammer which hangs from her tool belt obscures her….coif (Lisa’s term) and her mane of blond hair bursts out of her hard hat. The slogan? “Let us help you get it up.”
I simply lack the imagination to make this up.
A billboard on the freeway shows another sexy woman (real this time) looking disdainful and crooking her pinky finger into the universal sign for “that guy has a very small penis.” The caption? When you speed, no one thinks “big’ of you. Wow.
All along the road are adverts for the rest stops which say “Rest, Revive, SURVIVE.” Seems a bit alarmist if you ask me.
On the other hand, the people are polite to a fault. No one has asked why I’m in a wheelchair so I’ve been unable to fulfill one of my challenges to answer that question with “because a dingo ate my baby.” One of our waiters said to me as I rolled over his foot: “Sorry, I think my foot is under there.”
For a few days prior to arriving here we were at Coogee Bay – a lovely beach with jewel-like water, light, soft sand and tiny nocturnal seagulls the size of doves. The ramps go right to the sand so I could sit against a wall and watch the action. Lisa found one ramp at Covelly Cove which went right to the water so I could sit on the edge of it and dip my feet. I had morning beach time with Dad, looking out at the water as he rubbed my hands and feet to help with circulation, delicious retail therapy with Lisa which included her finding the perfect gift for me to get my moving captains and lovely walks along the boardwalk, talks and meals with Mac.
The last night was very warm and Lisa and I sat at the beach and just watched. The water was that indigo and the night light made the whitecaps iridescent. Young people ran joyfully in the sand and I was flooded with gratitude that my memories of running in sand until I fell down are not distant memories, nor are my memories of playing chicken with the waves, boogie boarding and falling off of a surfboard. I had a ball on the beach until I couldn’t anymore.
I remember a couple of summers ago playing “running, blind word-at-a-time-stories” with Rebecca Stockley an amazing improvisor and friend. She held on to me and I was blindfolded and as we collaborated on a present tense story, alternating one word at a time, I remember the wet grass between my toes, climbing a rope hammock blind ( we were on a pirate ship), feeling the cool night air and not just remembering being a kid but really for that moment being a kid. I felt supremely alive.
Moments. Maybe that’s our life – we stitch them together like my friend Wendy does with her quilts – taking scraps and making something whole and beautiful and unlike any other.