Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

Is anyone there?

Spiders have taken up residence in my studio, claiming every corner and colonising every crack in the windowsill. Their messy webs stretch across the dusty space, bearing numerous small insects they were probably saving for later. No doubt the spiders had assumed, quite reasonably, that all human activity had ceased.

Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Picture: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Six weeks is a long time to be away – six glorious weeks of reconnecting with friends and family on the other side of the world. I made no notes and took no photos, freewheeling through a carefree autumn in England and relishing precious time spent with people who matter to me.

There are plenty of downsides to moving half way around the world, even when that move is voluntary, and leaving people you love has to be top of the list. The upside is that I no longer take any of those people for granted; time with them was limited so cherished all the more. I tried to live in the moment. I wrapped my arms around the people I love and I counted my blessings.

It’s a privilege to be able to move freely across the world, from one place of safety to another, when so many millions are homeless.

News of the brutal attacks in Paris greeted us on our arrival back in Sydney and my heart sank at the tragic inevitability of it all. We kill each other and we shouldn’t. Does that sound simplistic? Yes, of course it does. We teach children the difference between right and wrong and good and evil, only to have them grow up and realise that the adult world is far more complex. Killing can be condemned or justified, right or wrong, depending on whose side you’re on. By whose measure? On whose terms? Under what circumstances?

Love thy neighbour. That’s one of the hardest asks.

I was lucky enough to see Colin Davidson’s Silent Testimony during a weekend trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland. It’s a stunning exhibition of portraits of people who suffered during the Troubles.

Maureen Reid's husband and the father to her 10 children, James (44), was killed when a bomb was thrown into a bar.

Maureen Reid’s husband and the father to her 10 children, James (44), was killed when a bomb was thrown into a bar.

The religion or allegiance of those who suffered terrible loss and grief is hidden – we weren’t  told what ‘side’ they were on – and it was a powerful reminder that ordinary people pay a terrible price when violence takes hold.

So, with apologies to the spiders, I’m now back at work.

 

9 comments on “Is anyone there?

  1. monsoonwendy
    November 20, 2015

    So so lovley to have you back Deb. I hope the trip was refreshing, restorative and wonderful. It sounds like it was. Stay cool baby.

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      November 20, 2015

      It certainly was and I’m looking forward to a proper catch-up with you soon are you around next week?

      Like

  2. cathmarriott
    November 20, 2015

    likewise – I have missed you and am so delighted that you had a marvellous time reconnecting. I am also really glad that you are now sharing your life with other living creatures who will look after the ‘bugs that afflict’ for you. don’t regard them as cobwebs of mess and grime – rather regard them as treasures sent to balance your environment with industry and dedication.
    Knees done Dec 1. xo

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      November 20, 2015

      Hello Cath! Great news about your knees, hope the op goes well and thank you for the reminder that spiders eat mosquitoes which eat me, so whilst I had to sweep a path to my desk I will leave the others to prosper 🙂 x

      Like

  3. Rae Luckie
    November 20, 2015

    Hi Deb

    Welcome back—what a wonderful trip—brought back memories when you wrote about Ireland—for me Dublin tied to Peter Kirkpatrick’s poetry ‘Wish you Were Here’.

    Cheers

    Rae

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      November 20, 2015

      Thanks Rae, I will look that poem up. And good news – I’ve been asked to take part in the Batemans Bay Writers Festival in 2016 – hope to see you there!

      Like

  4. Eliza Waters
    November 20, 2015

    Welcome back, Deb. Sounds like you had a wonderful time, reconnecting and strengthening bonds. At least the spiders were keeping the flies down while you were gone!

    Like

  5. debhuntwasinbrokenhill
    November 22, 2015

    Thx Eliza, just wish the spiders would do the same with the mosquitoes!

    Like

  6. Sherry
    November 28, 2015

    I too am so glad your back. Time with friends and family are worth a little cobwebs,lol

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 20, 2015 by and tagged , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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