Hang On

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

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Just hang in there.

 

 

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Odyssey

 

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Herbert James Draper – Ulysses and the Sirens – 1909

Sing, through me, O muse, the famous story

Of he, the wily wanderer far and wide

Who – after Ilium was lost – did travel

Through distant lands and cities; there to learn

The manners and the mysteries of men.

Though oceans overwhelmed his troubled heart

And waves of sorrow rocked him now and then

All his companions did he not abandon

He found his way, at last, back home again.

Homer –  Odyssey – 1st stanza, retold by me 2017

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Muse make the man thy theme, for shrewdness famed

And genius versatile, who far and wide

A Wand’rer, after Ilium overthrown,

Discover’d various cities, and the mind

And manners learn’d of men, in lands remote.

He num’rous woes on Ocean toss’d, endured,

Anxious to save himself, and to conduct

His followers to their home.

 

Homer – translation by William Cowper, 1791

 

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Henry Fuseli – Odysseus facing the choice between Scylla and Charybdis, 1794/6

 

 

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of contending,
the wanderer, harried for years on end,
after he plundered the stronghold
on the proud height of Troy.

He saw the townlands
and learned the minds of many distant men,
and weathered many bitter nights and days
in his deep heart at sea, while he fought only
to save his life, to bring his shipmates home.

Homer – translation by Robert Fitzgerald, 1961

 

It is never too late to begin an odyssey.

I have poetry in my soul.

Beyond the Dreaming Place

Beyond the dreaming place
I watch from my darkness
All the stars I know
Kiss your head, my love
Beyond the dreaming place

And no backward journey
Nothing’s left of that time
That door is shut forever
Now is the time to move on
Beyond the dreaming place

Tim Harries, Robert Johnson, Peter Knight, Gay Woods

 

 

Stolen Dreams

Caledonia

I don’t know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I’ve been afraid
That I might drift away
So I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that’s the reason why I seem
So far away today
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had
Oh and I have moved and I’ve kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
Oh and I have tried and kept on trying
Stolen dreams yes there’s no denying
I have traveled far with conscience flying
Somewhere with the wind
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had
Now I’m sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames that could not get any higher
They’ve withered now they’ve gone
But I’m steady thinking my way is clear
And I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands are shaken and the kisses flow
Then I will disappear
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had

Dougie MacLean

 

Outback Spaceman

I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I’ve got speed
I’ve got everything I need
I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I can fly
I’m a supersonic guy

I don’t need pleasure
I don’t feel pain
If you were to knock me down I’d just get up again
I’m the outback spaceman, baby; I’m makin’ out
I’m all about

I wake up every morning with a smile upon my face
My natural exuberance spills out all over the place
I’m the outback spaceman, I’m intelligent and clean
Know what I mean?

with apologies to Neil Innes
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Back to Billiluna yesterday and finally started on cleaning up the donga.  Committed genocide on a billion spiders that festooned the walls and ceiling.  Some looked as if they might be redbacks who had moved in during my absence.  I spent a lot of time cleaning up the deliberately spilt food and herbs and spices, scrubbing and bleaching and sorting out the stuff thrown on the floor, at least where I needed to walk.  Bedding all washed and sanitised with Domestos.  Unpleasant little gifts uncovered and removed as I went.

I got a better idea of what was gone, and what was not.  I hate to add up the cost of what I have lost.  Sentimental value aside, I think it possibly amounts to around 15 to 20 grand.  It is ironic, isn’t it, that a few blogs ago after the first burglary, I wrote that I had too much stuff and I needed to figure out what to do with it.  I guess that problem is solved.

Finally, having made a good start on the mess, and finding myself psychologically stable in the face of this shit heap,  I decided to sleep and start again in the morning.  I set up my CPAP and settled down on my mattress with a sleeping bag. Within minutes my skin was crawling and I was being bitten by something tiny I could not see or catch. Cooties?

Sod this.  I can cope with the smell of pee and the other adversities, but this was too much.  I pack up my kit and drive back to Halls Creek, itching all the way, arriving at the SPQ around midnight.  Hot shower, clothes into the washing machine to soak with hot water and bleach, then to bed in what seems to have become my second home. I shall try again next week after giving the place a good permethrin spray and airing out.

For those newcomers who have not been following, the story so far:
I live in a remote community in the outback in a small portable home called a donga.
I was burgled twice in a month while I was away from the place, the second in particular being very devastatingly thorough in removal of my property and destruction of what was not taken.
CPAP: Constant Positive Air Pressure machine. A device for those who suffer sleep apnoeia. I am one.
SPQ: The Shire of Halls Creek Single Persons Quarters,  A sad lonely place for people who have no one to love them.  Elvis called it “Heartbreak Hotel”.

Now read on…

Found

One of my colleagues (my boss) travelled down to my home and started what I could not; cleaning up the mess left by the vandal thieves. He also spoke to the community about why I was not returning yet.

He came back last night with my grandfather’s fob watch (smashed) and my vintage 1978 dive watch that is unharmed and still going. They had not been stolen with everything else, but had been tossed into the trample pile along with my cds, DVDs, books, and other things that the thieves had no use for, so did their best to smash.

The dive watch was robust enough to survive that treatment.

In my mind that dive watch had become a symbol of all I have loved and lost, and all I have done in my travels round the world. Losing it had brought about a despair I could not overcome. Regaining it gave me a new resolve to deal with the other losses and get on with it again. I had not consciously focussed on that one thing in the midst of overwhelming loss of valuables and collected memories but having done so has actually in the end proved beneficial to my mental state. Because I have it again.

I think I can get back on the horse now. I am not sure if there is a life lesson to be drawn from this, and I truly don’t know why, of all things, it was the watch that was the focus of my angst, but having recovered it has made me feel so much better. Since the incident, I have been very ambivalent about returning in spite of my confidence that it was not a community member who had desecrated my home. Now, once the Shire have improved the security there, I am happy to go back and once more try to help the youngsters find their way into the future.

I have to add that I work with awesome people.

Things, Only Things.

While I was in Darwin, people broke into my house again.  Despite the massive bolt and lock I put on the door.   I got back to Halls Creek on Sunday morning, which is when I learned of it.  The road had been opened on Friday so I drove straight down to take a look.  The police had resecured the door, but really they need not have bothered.  I was devastated to find that everything of value or of significance to me was gone, or destroyed.

Everything.  My valuables, my artefacts, my documents, my kitchen stuff, food, tools, whatever.  Gone.  What was not taken was wantonly destroyed.  They stabbed holes in my bodhran, they smashed my laptops, trampled any books, cds and DVDs they did not take. They pissed on my clothes and desecrated the bed.  They wrote on the wall but not in ink.

I truly could not handle it.  Once I found my most precious things were not there, I did a perfunctory check of the rest and realised I could not cope and I could not stay.

I did not stay. I just locked the door again and left.  I am back in the SPQ.

I tell myself it is all just things, only things.

But I am grieved and angry.

That is why I wrote the Prozac song.  Humour is my coping mechanism.  Even so, I took a double dose today.