Tuesday, 4 January 2011
Part of me was keen to push my face into the pillow and ignore the bright sunshine until 10am. After the first migraine in about 6 months and the knowledge that I have 9 days in a row coming up (will work conservatively 100 hours in that block) sleep looked very very appealing. But sleeping away life means that you miss so much. And even though I was having a fascinating and very rich dream set in Bali, there is a real life which is to be lived as well.
So I got up, looked at the state of the toy room and seriously considered reneging on the waking up thing. But instead shrilly helped the girls pack it all up and wipe unidentifiable decomposing food up from the floor and the crevices of their couch. And the whole time I was scrubbing I was having a vicious tantrum in my head - first real day off in so long and I work so hard and I'm doing this. This. And then I ruminated and I stewed and I festered and I thought longingly of being stretched out on a couch, listening to music and not talking. Not doing anything, just doing something I wanted to do and the festering boil of resentment burst until my insides felt like pure bile.
Then the Possum crash tackled me from behind and giggled and I slapped myself and got on with the living part.
The Elfling had her second ever proper play date today and we dropped her off at 10am to have a full day of playing. The first time I'd dropped her off I had felt panicky and slightly paranoid, but this time we barely stopped the car before zipping back off into the sunshine, heading towards one of my favourite places on Earth.
I'm often told that Brisbane is a nice enough place to live, but not really somewhere you go to visit. Nothing to see, nothing to do. And I always rankle a little bit, because whenever I ask these wearied travellers where they've been in Brisbane, or what they've done, many have been nowhere besides the mall, and possibly the museum, and that was 10 years ago.
In the intervening time Brisbane built a gallery to house Modern Art. Not the gilded Frederick McCubbins and the vases. But art that isn't just pretty on a wall. It's the sort of stuff that our illustrious daily paper mocks because "a 5 year old could do it" showing beautifully how little of it they understand. It's art that makes me cry. It's art that makes me sing. Because it's art that requires you to participate. It's art that actually does something rather than look pretty.
The exhibit at the moment is one that I particularly love. You walk in and the first thing you see are two great 3 storey high slippery dips that curl around the entrance way in steel and acetate. To the right is a city of pure white lego with intricate minarets and an equal number of 4 and 40 year olds studiously creating and changing the exhibit so it's different every time you visit.
Facing this elegant ghost town is a wall of ribbons in every colour of the rainbow tucked into tiny holes. Each ribbon printed with a simple wish. Wishes for time portals. Wishes to be older or wishes to be younger. And you can take a wish - tie it around your wrist with a bow, so long as you leave a wish behind, printed on simple paper and creating the art work as you go. I stood there next to the Monkey reading the wishes and trying to find one that came close to the biggest wish I have. And I printed my wish. My wish that I can't actually say out loud, poked it into the wall and pulled a wish ribbon out and tied it in a bow around my wrist. The Monkey doing the same - her wishes a lot more simple than mine "I wish to be bigger".
I laughed then - her exchanged wish was a picture of our cat as she admired her pretty ribbon wish. And I wondered if I could change my wish - so that I could be as blithe and carefree as my baby girl. We looked at other exhibits - one where you could send a postcard for free and another where you could build a bird out of "currency". And I absent mindedly folded a crane while the Monkey and Possum created, then thrilled to see a single identical crane hanging from the tree above me. Joining the two as they were fated to be.
Lunch was at one of my favourite pokey little Vietnamese places in West End where the Possum tried to swim in the fish pond and the Monkey ate from a Princess bowl that made the meal extra delicious. Then we wandered across to the city where I bought my annual cleanser "gift with" pack and a new Leona dress and tried on shoes with red soles and sighed a little bit. Before the small ones decided that enough was enough and we ran out on the grass and played and laughed and looked at clouds.
It was a lovely day, and as we walked back to the car across the bridge, the storm clouds rumbled overhead. Big life filled clouds tinged with light and gold. And I sucked in the warm humid air and let the wind play with my hair, the ghosts of wishes that continue to haunt me whispering. And I picked up my squealing Possum and blew raspberries on his belly, while the Monkey bounced about and asked me to tie her wish bow again, because it kept coming undone.