Joy of Life “quotidien”

I am trying hard to nudge out grief from my mind by paying attention to the joy of life around me.

There is delight simply by walking down my street with Oscar on his lead sniffing at every blade of grass and piddling to claim his territory. It is strange to do it alone, but then we never did walk these uphill downhill streets once we returned from renting at Hindmarsh Island. You were too ill and I didn’t want to walk without you.  Now I begin again walking a new dog as our Shi Tsu Jackson has been dead two years now – and you have been gone for five weeks.

I notice the koala turds on the road and look up into the gum tree to see if it is still there.  And there he is. A fat specimen wedged in the fork of a tree. I run home and get a camera and snap him, who stares down at me.  A  medley of birdcalls pierce the still, wintry mist. If only you were here with me this crisp morning because the winter creek, which runs across our property and along the side of the road, is rushing with water.  Such a rare occurrence that I cannot remember if we ever saw it gush like this.  For 360 days of the year it is as dry as Oscar’s bone, but now it zips along flattening weeds and grasses on its journey down the hillside.  There are magpies, too, hopping around, flying overhead. And I notice it all on my hillside stroll.

However, around the corner in High Street, where we walked a hundred times in eight years, lies undiscovered, your joy of joys.  Under the tall pine tree, no more than 10 metres from the corner I find two cepes!   I almost shout our loud with joy and pick them both carefully. And we turn for home.  “Here comes breakfast!’’ I tell myself. “And a beef and mushroom casserole.’’

Before I met you, I had no idea that finding rare mushrooms could be so much fun. One is almost as big as a saucer and neither have been infested with grubs.  And as I walk briskly home, my mind floods with the memories of our mushroom adventures last May when we went into the Kuitpo Forest and found so many we didn’t have enough bags in the car to carry them.

Armed with this precious knowledge – and I remember how Yvette would never tell us her secret places in Adelaide environs where she would collect cepes each year –  we returned to pick more mushrooms to pickle.

We had stepped over the fence into the ploughed earth which bordered the forest to find cepes by the score popping up through the bare ground. But you insisted on going into the forest anyway  – a dark place, dangerous to walk with the broken branches and years of pine needles covering rocks.

“No, let’s just go home,’’ I had said when you beckoned for me to join you. “Look how many we have to pickle.’’

“I will hold your hand, darling,’’ you had replied.

“This is fun.  I will show you some magic mushrooms; they are bound to be here somewhere.’’

So I traipsed alongside you through a wonderworld of countless fungi and we picked our way over the fallen branches, rocks, and pine needles, treading carefully onward with the smell of pine cones all around us.

Into a clearing where tall trees had long been felled where mushrooms of a different kind now grew in gay abandon.

“Aha!” You cried out in joy. “Magic mushrooms. You eat them and you will get as high as on marijuana.’

Now I smile at the memories and yet am sad to think you missed finding the same cepes, which sell for $80 a kilo in French provincial markets, growing wild no more than 100 metres from our house.  Now I can only imagine the joy that would have brought you.

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1 Comment to “Joy of Life “quotidien””

  1. By Sandy Matz, 02/02/2014 @ 3:56 pm

    I hope your friends and followers can come to hear you speak at the Hyde Park Rotary Club meeting upstairs at the Hyde Park Tavern on Wednesday 19th February (7.00 for 7.30 pm).. $25 for dinner including presentation of Nadine’s expansion of “From France With Love” and “Life Goes On”.

    I personally – and the club members, partners and friends are looking forward to hearing you speak and welcome any of your friends to come and listen. See our bulletin/website for payment details/information or ring Sandy on 0414747657 for further information.

    Sandy Matz,
    President, Hyde Park Rotary Club

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