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  • alexellenward

humans of the house

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

I always look forward to the weekends when curious Cathos arrives or mum, ready to rearrange all the furniture or ‘get the garden going’ pulls up in the dark on a Friday eve. There’s always something to ‘get going’ in her world. Her thoughts are always in motion, ready to be acted on at the drop of a hat. Dada comes to The Manse to decompress though. To slow down his thoughts and to take it all in. To observe and be. He relishes in the music shared by way of strums and drums as we observe mum in her natural habitat.

“Is it that time of year already?”, I ask as Rhianna bounces in with fresh hot cross buns under one arm and painting supplies in the other. In the first weeks, the stillness was palpable in my throat upon waking, her voice cutting through the hum like morning bird song.

Caleb comes to see the land. He tells me of all the closed-loop-drainage potential for water with the hill if we link up the dam with a pump. Ocean comes because it’s a place to crash in an area with lots of his pals. He shares coconut Aldi chocolate and biscuits and his torn brown-paper-bag stash of assorted tea bags, sachet cacaos, and Peruvian coffee mixes. He brings flow toys too, pulling them out of his car, one by one as if it were Mary Poppin’s bag of tricks. Cathos leaves her toothbrush here one week and a pair of undies, a dress and a jumper the next. Ocean gifts me the dapo toy and leaves his yellow-tinted sunnies on the top of the piano.

Jayden is a during-the-week visitor - coming over to introduce me to the greats in 70’s psychedelic rock post his radio segment as well as the ridiculousness that is the ‘Mighty Boosh’. We cook dinner and sip oxidized red wine left over from the night of Zak’s birthday when Zev decided to open up six bottles to enhance their flavour, leaving four of them pungent and reserved for cooking that never eventuated.

That was back when Raea came for a visit in March, bringing her whole Arts Factory crew to my awareness. We mediated between a bubbling green curry, chapati making that led to flour-slapped faces and a bunch of stoned hippies that I’d soon call mis amigos. The night was the chaotic middle segment of the Venn diagram where I found the overlap between my circles. The arts crew that Raea introduced me to. The more wholesome Bruns bush dwellers the likes of Basil and Meg and then Zev who was from Adelaide and knew Raea and Elise as well from doofs down that way. It was a gateway to how interconnected I already was down here.

Basil and Meg christened the kitchen with a fluffy square focaccia back in January, never failing to stop by for all-day cooking quests from that point on. On one day, it stormed and Basil abruptly stripped her clothes to run around in the pelt outside. I knew we’d be close from then on as Meg and I joined her to lay on the grass, with our tongues out to catch the drops. The resonance I found with Meg as we conversed over chai from her hand-made clay cups or collaging in our undies was unparalleled. She’s one of those friends that I wouldn’t hesitate to criss-cross the globe to be in her presence.

As the heat quells, Olive floats in on her golden silk dress, always a basket in tow filled with earthly delights the likes of homemade chai in large jars, fresh white candles, macadamia butter and figs. It’s nice to be the receiver, the stable one with a place to host after being the one on the move for so long.

My interactions begin to shape me. I start to burn incense and read by candlelight of an evening, more ritual entering my life.

I connect with Aysha and the bubbling embodiment of love that she is. It’s well into autumn now and so we eat hoards of roast pumpkin from each of our gardens, lathered with garlic and ghee and spices and herbs with the sourdough that I bake up the day before.

I welcome David, a Dutch friend that I met whilst diving up in Cairns and three of his backpacker friends. He tells us stories of hiding from gunpoint in the Great Sandy Desert and of unexplained coincidences near the Rainbow Temple as we connect almost one year on, with his whole lap of Oz complete.

My friends from Brisbane come later, bringing me perspective of who I am growing into. One brings a large jar of Albino golden tops that we make into a tea with ginger and lemongrass yanked from its roots, not five steps from my room! The tea sends us all for hours, turning us into fairies, as Cathos, Josh, and I share how our paradigms have shifted to bring the others up to speed. Cathos, always by my side, walks up the country lane with me at 2 am as I feel the extent of my freedom to a cellular level.

I can’t forget the days that the Italian Giuseppe popped over to help mum out with odd jobs, always updating me on the state of the swell. Or George the Snake man who overstayed his welcome a little too long after rescuing a green tree snake from behind my pillows. Or Jade, the water delivery guy, for when our small tank went dry after extending my arms to too many dirty hippies who hadn’t showered in a good while.

So many people in so little time. The space can hold them though. It’s new and unworn. There’s lots of light and expanse and unwoven potential. It’s limitless.


It would be ignorant of me to forget about the egrets though. They’ve kept me company of a morning up in the almost frond-less hoop pine. I watched one of them bring a twig a day to the nest for months until, all of a sudden, there were three fluffy chicks. They were flying within a day, pooing on me twice before disappearing forever.

I’ve had minute-long stare-offs with cows in the paddock next door as I lay naked on the grass observing the world. I felt as though I was more a part of the scenery as they looked at me with curiosity - a “hello and who are you?” rather than with fear or affection or unease. After I came out of meditation, I had a similar encounter with a roo, locking eyes from the scrub on the opposite side of the watering hole at the bottom of the property. The elephant-skin gum always stands strong and sturdy. Unmoving, yet alive and growing. The trees danced with my playful shadow. The obsidian ripples of the icy dam. The waxing and waning, rising and falling, illuminating and darkening of the moon and the varied light that it provided me to sleep to or to allow the stars to shine.

Thanks for the chapter, Myocum.

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