Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Spring cometh

They took away the sand containers and shovels today. Two burly blokes, singing on the job as they heaved the sand bags onto the back of their truck. And the sand vacuum machines have been sucking up the gritty layers, now all the snow is gone and the sun is bursting through. First signs of spring, which I welcome with my first American cold. They do everything bigger and better in the USofA. So it has been quite some cold.

The darling little chipmunks are out and about, chipping merrily in the woods. Squirrels cavort, looking terribly busy. There are signs of their diggings all over the place - hunting for their nut stashes. The red-winged blackbirds are back from their migratory adventures. Ditto the Canada geese. And we even saw a lone swan gliding in among the ducks and geese on the lake in Mine Falls Park.
One forgets the profundity of spring when one lives in Australia. Without a harsh winter, there really is no spring. Just new growth. Here, the stark, leafless trees are showing their first spring life, thrusting forth buds of triumphant red.
In the forthcoming weeks, they will burst with green and this verdant landscape will become impenetrable once more.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

On movies

Of course I love the Coen Brothers. And, just recently, I discovered the Polish Brothers and "Northfork" - a surreal meditation on frontiers and death. But, pondering the film industry and just which director would have me lining up at the box office in a state of great excitement, I realise it is Christopher Guest who is my hero.
And that I crave another movie from him.

Saturday, March 20, 2004


It is a week since I disembarked from the 24-hour expedition which brings me to New Hampshire. I think I'm on the clock. I've been thinking that for some days. I've done this trip many time before. I am used to it. Or so I like to think. In fact I harbour the same self-delusion every time. I've come to think it is part of the process. It's a facet of jet lag. And there is no way around jet lag. If you think you have beaten it, it will creep up behind you and slam you into a new miasma.
Holding the kind hand of valium, I had six whole hours sleep over the Pacific last Friday. I have never had such a glorious big sleep in the air. I arrived oh, so perky and full of optimism that a real sleep surely would undermine the old jet lag. Watch me get right on the clock.
Saturday afternoon as we drove home from a lengthy and fairly energetic expedition, I grew noddy in the car. It was pre-dawn in Australia. Naturally my body wanted to acknowledge it. I demanded a large coffee and fought back valiantly. Jet lag be damned.
I woke a little early on the first couple of mornings here, but generally, apart from my digestive system, I seem to be nicely on the northern clock clock. In the afternoons, however, I run out of steam and seemed to squander time in some sort of amotivated haze. The result, of course, is an attack of self-loathing and guilt because there is much I should be doing, that I want to do, I have promised myself to get done... And yet I feel too floppy. Blah. Soporific. Is it the central heating? On Wednesday, returning from a delightful lunch in snowy Nashua with my friend Janet, I almost feel asleep on the couch later afternoon. Bruce came home and found me wrapped in a blanket in a state of torpor. I was quite embarrassed. As if I had been caught being lazy. Today I have no energy and don't want to do anything. I drank three coffees and forced myself out for a brisk walk to photograph the dripping icicles before they melt. It is bracing out there and it helped. But truth is that I am still not myself. I am sluggish and stupid. I know the old power will return. It always does. Eventually. But it is a myth that the west-east jet lag takes only three days. It is a myth I disprove year after year. It is a myth which punishes anyone who is naive enough to believe it. Jet lag takes at least a week. It simply won't be hurried. Ask your bowels. And one of its prime characteristics is that one always gets disoriented about how disoriented one is and how long one has been that way.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Up up and away

With the Festival rolling to a close and the body only just holding up to the double shifts and erratic meals, I leapt on a plane and returned to my other home - New Hampshire.
So, from the hot late Aussie summer to the cold New England late winter.
I never get over the general astonishment at making these huge transitions from one culture and world to another. Here there are big solid rather dirty piles of old snow lying in car park corners - apparently they were 10 ft tall not so long ago. But the air is dry and just seriously brisk with cold. Gloves weather. And my ears get cold. Bruce laughs at my complaints, since it is pussycat cold in his terms. And I have seen New Englanders out there in t-shirts for heavens sake. To them, the worst of the winter is over. Phhtt. I rushed to the stores and grabbed some warm gear from the bargain racks - and I don't care how silly I look, but I am rugging up. Then, of course, one goes indoors and it is all so heated one is sweating. Confusing. I have not had much experience with this clothes-on, clothes-off syndrome since my years in the Uk where I hated it, too. But at least it is a really comfy indoors and I can sit abouty in my sarong as usual. Unlike Australian winter in houses which we don't heat - and go around layered to the nines. I wear windcheaters and ugg boots with my sarongs there.
On the ground here, the presidential challenge is the hottest thing around. At last I have been able to see some of the Bush/Kerry advertising conflict. Bush's strategy seems pretty desperate and transparent to me - but it remains to be seen how much of the population still believes in him. One suspects that, just as Australians are turning against Howard, so are Americans turning against Bush. But politics is a strange beast. We must watch and wait.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Light at the end of the tunnel

Driving home towards a rising moon so huge that it looked as if it would crash into the earth. So many nights in black boxes watching theatre, the world looks miraculous. Then again, there was the weekend of Womad with all the good spirit and alternative culture - and that same wonderous moon hanging over the park with music rising up to meet it.