Thoughts on an envelope

Late afternoon and a broom rests in the foreground at the end of Wasp War II

For the second time in a week, there were wasps; clustered under the verandah table and conspiring to build a nest. Maybe they should not be disturbed?  They are, after all, simply doing what they do, being a part of the world of natural cycles which surround us.  The problem is, of course, that in the process of them doing their thing, it makes the table unusable as ‘their thing’ may indeed involve biting the big warmth exuding thing which sits, forebodingly near to watch the street and puzzle over his crossword, cryptic, and critically intent on making some meaning out of all of this.

Wasp War I was fought and won with the broom.  Minor later skirmishes used folded newspaper, but it was the gentle push of the broom’s hairy head which hastened the wasp retreat. They flew retaliatory missions: beaming in on the warm heat exuding face which peered into the gloom to see their chagrin rushing forward in the beat of their wings.

All was quiet for days and then: they’re back, and so is the broom.

Victory again.  Once more we manage to impose ourselves, just as our whole streetscape sits atop land of the Worimi and Awabakal. High ground, gazing out across the mudflats and mangroves to the thundering seas and trapped wallaby dreaming buried inside Nobbys: lopped off to lessen luffing.

There is so much changed here.  Clanking in the night, we scoop up the black coal that streams forth from the bowels of the trains that batter and shove to drop their load before bucketing back up the line to Ulan, or Gunnedah or Warkworth or Wherever to refill from the growing holes.

Just down there was the Ferndale colliery, and across there, the soot of the cinder, and coke and blast furnace. A dormitory to sustain the mill, to feed the furnaces and supply the metal to back a nation, and an army. This was a suburb bred of heavy industry and mining.

Around the streets, there is the tell-tale flapping of flags on ute aerials, numbers on trucks and evidence of trades reliant on the mines and the loader.

And, living alongside, green leaning later arrivals: happy with their choice. We struggle often with the clash which occurs between possibilities.  As I sit in my chair I justify my victory over the wasps.  The brooms leans.

A day later, the street steams as if to say: “That wasn’t enough!”

The sun breaks through the clouds and the summer storm squalls off huffishly.

Summer Storm

A random tweet from a Newcastle tweep, six minutes ago:

‘That’s some storm!’

We rushed to the BOM – the radar loop live on the net

And yes, there!

fingers pointing toward blobs of yellow blue and red, pushing in from the North West.

We moved our chairs on the verandah:

settled in to watch the lightning show

and listen for the following of the rain on roofs rolled nearby:

at Lysaghts.

These houses, once a dormitory for the steelworks: the coke-ovens and hearths at the blast furnace

Sit angular and uncompromising against the sky,

By no means ill mannered enough to challenge the heavenly doings

But smugly rejoicing in their ability to ignore it

From the point of view of dour reality as opposed to

Fanciful nonsense.

It falls,

soft, then harder and hard. A steady drum on an earth; and electric white-blue rents the sky.

We wonder at the stories that every culture has told its children in answer to the question:


Docklands Sunset

Looking Westward to where the twists and turns of overhead wires and the ribbons of steel conspire with the sunlight as our tram glides toward the stop.