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THE FOG THE DUCK THE LITTLE WILLY WAGTAIL AND ME

File:Rhipidura leucophrys -Canberra, Australia-8.jpg

 

The Willy Wagtail
 
 
Some years ago I was staying in the city for a conference. My accommodation was at the edge of the Melbourne CBD in Victoria, Australia, opposite the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens. The following prose poem is the story of a wonderful early morning experience I had in these gardens. And yes it’s true, I talk to ducks, birds, dogs, even teddy bears. The above photo is courtesy of Wikipedia. I couldn’t find a foggy photo.
 
THE FOG THE DUCK THE LITTLE WILLY WAGTAIL AND ME
 
I roll up the blind, see the fog, it calls to me “Come out and play”. I experience a sense of excitement as I hurry through my shower and pull my clothes on. Blow waved hair, makeup, these things no longer important.  The fog! I want to be part of the fog. I hurry downstairs, cross the road and run into the park. Drops of moisture caress me as I break through the fog’s mysterious, seemingly ever moving blanket. I can see it before I reach it but when I arrive at the place it appeared to be it is no longer visible to me.  This fills me with a sense of wonder; I giggle with glee at the fog’s game of hide and seek. As I move deeper into this wintery world I turn to find a high fence of fog surrounding the park. I hear the muted hum of the peak hour traffic, but it has disappeared from view.  It is as if the park and I have been magically transported up into the clouds. I walk towards the pond where a duck swims in the icy cold water. He looks black, but as I get closer I see the subtle rich green of his back. I speak to him “Good morning Mr Duck, you are very beautiful. Aren’t you cold swimming in that water?” He opens his beak and honks his reply. I can’t speak Duck but I sense on the deep important level we understand each other. I tell him “I’m sorry I didn’t bring you any food. I was in such a hurry to get out and play in the fog, I forgot. I’ll bring you some tomorrow.” He again opens his beak and honks.  “So long Mr Duck” I say. He honks, swims in a circle, then glides off. I return to my game of trying to catch the fog. I chase it but it outruns me, I try creeping up on it but still it eludes me. I sit on a seat to rest; go inward to that place of synthesis where I sense an analogy between the mystery of fog and the quest for total understanding. We may never be able to grasp either fully, but what joy filled, enlightening experiences we have if we try. As if to consolidate this insight, a little Willy Wagtail lands on the seat beside me. He entertains me with his dance, which is a combination of little hops and great flourishes of his beautiful tail. As his performance ends I experience an enormous sense of gratitude for the mysterious beauty of the fog, the duck, the little Willy Wagtail and me.
 
Tricia 24/7/98
 

GRIEF AND CHRISTMAS

In Australia it is lunch time on Christmas day. When I wrote the following I had no idea that 2 years later my darling husband would also be dead. I have chosen to spend today alone, remembering two wonderful men, and the loving impact they had on my life. This may seem a maudlin post for this day of celebration, but it is my truth and the truth of many others.

(i’ve just realised I put the wrong intro. with this poem. It was in fact written 7 years before my husband’s death in July, 2009)

GRIEF AND CHRISTMAS  

My darling Son
It is almost four Christmas’s that I have lived through without you
I thought it was getting easier – I seemed to be able to try harder
It is not for myself I try – it is for others
Those who seem unable to understand what your death has done to me
Some who don’t understand still seem able to accept me as I am each day
Others seem to take personally my inability to celebrate what were previously “special days”
In kindness towards them I try to believe they struggle to cope
With the sad reality of your loss and the ongoing pain your Dad and I suffer
They seem to think I should be able to be part of their joy
Some seem unable to comprehend, for the bereaved this can be an incredibly painful time
I am emotionally and physically unable to force my pain to take second place to the needs of others
I can socialise at other times of the year but at Christmas – Easter – Mother’s Day – Father’s Day
My joyful memories of times past
Cut into the depths of my being and I weep to survive
I have no idea how long this sorrow will last – no one does
We all grieve differently and the loss of an only child is beyond the norm
Parents are not meant to outlive their children
It is not part of the natural order
I find it easier to spend time with those who accept me as I am now
They refrain from trying to “cheer me up”
Accepting my tears and laughter as they come
Knowing on some inner level that my life will never be quite the same
These people are the ones who enable me to keep going
I am thankful for their presence in my life
Because of these special people my life is still
A work in progress
 
TRICIA   12/2002
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