I’m back….

This little blog has been quiet of late because I have been away from cyberspace, braving the very real world and encountering nature at its finest. I have been camping. Now to those who don’t know me, this sounds quite natural and to be expected of the mother of three boys, that she would go camping…outdoors…away from her hairdryer…and computer…and flushing toilet (OK! They had flushing toilets and there was power and I did have a tv in the tent but I promise I never actually watched it!) but it was unusual for me because I like the comforts of home…four walls, tables and chairs that have no folding joints, ceramic dinner plates and a fridge to store my milk in. It was more than a little stretching to cram my living, food preparation and bedroom into two small rooms (though I did insist on taking my 7ft6in custom orthopaedic mattress to sleep on- a girl has to have standards) but I did it…and with a smile to boot.

I did not complain when the friends we went with and our collective six children decided to go on a six kilometre bike ride-even though I have barely ridden a bike in 15 years and the six kilometres did not cover the ride home!!!- I smiled and actually enjoyed it. Its hard not to when you are pedalling along a track that leads through some of Australia’s finest vineyards, the grapes oozing their sticky sweet fragrance into the warmed autumn air! I did not complain when possums kept me awake until the wee hours of the morning with the plastic rustle of their foraging through the rubbish bag we’d mistakenly left dangling from the handlebars of one of the bikes. When I finally worked up the courage to step out of the tent and into the night to investigate the unnatural rustling that was happening right outside the thin layer of canvas that separated me from whatever it was that was making that horrible noise, when I finally unzipped the thin barrier that was my last protective shield against the looming evils of outdoor life, when my eyes lit upon the small greyish furry creature that was sitting on the saddle of my bike I realised with horror that there was an instinct that pulsed through me more viscerally horrifying than the flight or fight response, something out there that was a greater threat to my health and safety than the small possum and her baby: I may have to get back on that saddle tomorrow. With an aching reminder of the frailty of the human posterior I removed the offending rubbish bag, apologised to the possum and her baby for interrupting their meal, and went back to bed. About fifteen minutes later, once I had negotiated the various positions that were required to get my gluteus maximus horizontal with my mattress, I decided that it didn’t matter, I was on holiday, I could sleep in, refresh, recover; but it was not meant to be.

I did not complain when the cackling of a pair of kookaburras woke me a mere four hours after I had finally dropped off to sleep (What’s with that!! I thought exercise was supposed to exhaust you, not give you insomnia…oh yes…possums). I did not complain as I gently lowered myself into the most padded foldable chair I could find with a plastic of tea (no cups…remember?) and watched as the children race off to the day’s activities. In fact, I had a wonderful time. We bumped into friends, watched a five or six year old fulfil her wish with an impromptu concert on the stage in front of a campsite of strangers. I learned to hula hoop…at 35 years old! I ate barbecue chicken and took sneaky photographs of a chandelier my girlfriend and I are going to copy and then spent hours op-shopping for the materials we’re going to need to make it. I bought a poetry book and counted rabbits as they hopped around in the dewy grass first thing in the morning. I read stories to six pajama-clad children with their tired eyes glued to my face as I squinted like a pensioner trying to make sense of the black and white scribbles by the light of a torch. I loved it, languished in the sheer joy of having nothing but the moment to occupy me, nothing but memories to build and nothing but my plate to clean.

My favorite moment by far was not the near-hysterics C and I dissolved into when something BIG with six legs crawled out of her shirt (or another BIG thing with six legs poked its head at me from the visor a mere hands-breadth from my face)but when six tired little people clambered onto my 7ft6in custom mattress (did I mention I was dumb enough to leave the white cover on the blankets?!!! Yes!! Well, you live and you learn!) to hear the Easter story which I read from the children’s Bible C had found at an op-shop for $2 or $3. I read about how Jesus was tried before Pilate, beaten and crucified. I read about how the two thieves on either side of him mocked and honoured him in turn and about how, in his last moments, as Jesus hung beaten and dying, with the weight of the sins of the world on his shoulders, he called his friend over to the foot of the cross where his mother stood watching her son die and told him, “This is your mother,” and to his mother he said’ “This is your son.” And then he died and three days later, was raised to life again. Six pairs of eyes were glued to mine, six little faces showing different levels of interest and understanding. It is a difficult story to tell children, one that can frighten them and raise interesting questions. I wanted to end on a high note and answer any concerns they may have so I asked a few questions and let them share their thoughts, which were insightful, but none so much as the answer one of my boys gave when I asked them what they thought Jesus was thinking about when he died on the cross. My boy looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, “He was thinking about his mother.” I could have cried! My little boy had seen something in the character of Jesus that so many of us miss in the blood-and-gore story of His death and resurrection. Jesus was not so busy saving the world, that he forgot to ask his best friend to look after his Mum for him. As they say…out of the mouths of babes…


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Erin
    Apr 23, 2011 @ 07:35:52

    Beautiful Arianne, Thanks for writing. A lovely way to start my day xo



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