Tawny eyes

This week, my favourite astrologer Rob Brezny recommended:

GEMINI: While reading Virginia Woolf, I found the perfect maxim for you to write on a slip of paper and carry around in your pocket or wallet or underwear: “Let us not take it for granted that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small.” In the coming weeks, dear Gemini, I hope you keep this counsel simmering constantly in the back of your mind. It will protect you from the dreaminess and superstition of people around you. It will guarantee that you’ll never overlook potent little breakthroughs as you scan the horizon for phantom miracles. And it will help you change what needs to be changed slowly and surely, with minimum disruption.

It took me a while to wrap my head around that one. I mean, isn’t the joy supposed to reside in the small things? But the “superstition of people around me” felt like an important clue.

Last week, when I returned from my Zumba class late on Thursday evening, I looked up and saw a Tawny Frogmouth sitting on the electricity wire directly above our front gate. I didn’t want to insult or startle him. But I did want to capture his presence in some way. So I took out my phone, turned off the flash and took a snap into the dark. (A somewhat inept fiddle with filters is what you see above.)

I stepped back respectfully and we stared at each other for a while. I thanked him quietly for visiting and told him how glad we were to see him and thankful for his watchful eye. I started to get chilly in the night air but didn’t want to barge underneath him and scare him away while I wrested with our squeaky stiff gate. So I said gently, “I am going to go inside now.” And in that moment, he flew away.

He’s visited us before, this handsome fella. (Don’t ask me how I know he’s a he. He just is.) He has sat on the ornamental grape vine directly outside our back door and stared into the window from the darkness. I find myself wishing he’d leave us a feather, rather than a white splat on the ground. But I’ll take what I can get.

He knows us. He sees us. He is looking out for us.

He also came bearing a message. You are exactly where you need to be. You are noticing the signs. You are seeing more clearly as the veil is thinning. You are strong and you are safe. But you would be wise to camouflage for a while.

Camouflage? I’d be hard pressed to think of a greater challenge.

But I do see the gifts in it.

Something is not right in my street. Something is broken.

Maybe it is as simple as demographic change: the inevitable disgruntlement of the older folk who moved into the area when it was insalubrious and inexpensive. The ones whose homes are run down and do not honour heritage obligations. The ones who live unhappily on their own, do not have meaningful or fulfilling ways to spend their time, rarely seem to have family or friends visit. The ones who, odds are, grew up in difficult times with parents whose attention was taken up with meeting the family’s basic needs… or maybe even parents who were downright awful. The ones who seem particularly resentful of young families: wealthy upstarts who seem to flaunt their happiness and optimism with no respect for anyone else’s preferences.

Maybe it is something more. The part of me that is sensitive and suggestible intuits that this is an avenue worth exploring. I can’t discount the possibility that it is a story of first peoples. But this is not my story to tell. The ghosts of women are tapping me on the shoulder, patiently waiting for me to bring them to life and help them settle old scores. Some of them lived in my home before me. Some are living around me now. This is a contract I intend to fulfil.

In the meantime, there are other stories I want to stop telling. And I see now that these are about small things. Small people.

People on the periphery of my daily life. People who gossip. People who walk across my roof at 3am. People who delay planning applications and derail council meetings for the sole purpose of having their vindictive fictions heard. People who pretend to be allies in order to gather information. People who know the names, ages and occupations of every inhabitant of the street, along with the date they moved in and how much they paid for their house, to the nearest dollar. People who play their doof-doof so loud the crockery rattles in our cupboards. People who blame imaginary African immigrants for crimes they have, in all likelihood, themselves committed. People who make sure they are seen, standing in the distance, staring into the rear vision mirror. People who walk the length of a train platform just to walk menacingly close to my son’s stroller and give me the darkest stink-eye they can manage. People who hurl a bag of dead eels over our back fence.

People who set up a bogus (untraceable) email address for the sole purpose of emailing me on Christmas Eve, referring to specific aspects of our proposed renovation and promising to “wait until the time is right”, put asbestos in our car vents and then set fire to my home while my family and I are sleeping.

People that Victoria Police are most definitely aware of.

Small, impotent people. People jealous and unevolved. People whom I can occasionally feel compassion for. People whom I may never forgive. People whom I sometimes wish extremely nasty things upon.

People I no longer wish to set my signs on because my anger diminishes us all but most especially me.

People. Consider yourself seen.

Now excuse me while I gaze at the sky.