September 1 marks the beginning of spring in Australia.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, 1859, bk.1, ch.1)
When I look at the world at the moment, everything Dickens said makes sense.
Except everything is different because we are all ourselves, and we experience each moment based on our physical, mental and emotional well-being at that precise second.
Can I put food on the table? Am I healthy? Do I have secure housing? Am I financially stable? Am I safe? Are my loved ones safe? Am I loved? Am I valued in my workplace, among my peers and in my home? Do I have something to look forward to? This loosely translates to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where survival is the most basic need and being able to achieve your full potential is at the highest level. And in today’s world a lot of people are struggling to meet the needs that matter most to them.
But I digress.
I started this blog because it’s spring, because the quality of the light has changed, the length of days has changed, and the sounds I’m hearing have changed. There’s more colour and variety in the garden, the native bees have come out to play, and the noisy miners are dive-bombing the cats, who roar in protest and the dance starts over.
More people are on the streets. They seem to be smiling more and their smiles are wider, toothier. They’re shucking jackets and scarves with breezy abandon and revealing tantalising stretches of skin that have been buried beneath layers of cloth for months. They’re lolling about on blankets in parks, pretending to read a book while dozing in the sun. Children are running for the sheer fun of wind through their hair. Lovers are holding hands, exchanging secret glances or starting to weave dreams.
All the delicious elements that make spring add up to a sense of joy and possibilities. I’m hugging the sense of possibilities close and starting a new story.
In last month’s blog I reflected on Pamela Cook’s session at the #rwaus2022—Climb Inside Your Character’s Skin. That’s how I’m spending my thinking time at the moment—trying to get inside the head of my new characters and see, hear, feel, think and experience the world as they do. What are their challenges? Do they have regrets? What are their dreams?
Dylan Thomas set the scene for Under Milkwood (1954) with his opening words: To begin at the beginning. It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black.
P.S – my dendrobium orchid is almost white this year when it’s usually a pale buttery yellow.