Random Happiness

I just looked back at my last couple of posts and realised that they are very blue. Today, there are many shades of grey outside, but in spite of the palette, life is feeling kind of gold. Maybe peachy. Perhaps even in the pink.
So in an attempt to celebrate the gift of random happiness, here’s a list, in very random order, of some extremely random stuff I love.
Why not?
I love my sunburnt country.
Even when it is pale and wan, like today.
And I don’t mean that in a jingoistic way, although I can sometimes get caught up in those moments.
I love the specifics – wet drips from eucalyptus leaves on a winter morning, the honey scent of first wattle, the cloud of red when my feet fall on dry earth, the rustle of dry grass in early autumn. The twisted trunks and textures of paperbark, the delicate calligraphy of a spider orchid, the squawk of cockatoos when I enter their patch and the hysterical laughter of kookas as they tuck in for the night.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, how your changing aspects make me expand. I want to be big enough to belong; better so I can live up to you; worthy in your eyes.
Oi, oi, oi…
Merrell Siren Ventilator boots.
They may have been discontinued, but with detective work and effort, and the kindness of staff at Ray’s Outdoors, I now have two pairs in my wardrobe. Every time I see them I remember how my previous pairs cosseted me across the miles, and I anticipate the adventures I will have with these. They hold the promise of the road.
Feeling useful.
Feeling stretched.
Feeling like I have something to discover and to offer.
Katherine Mansfield said it best. I carry this everywhere.
Oh, God!  The sky is filled with the sun, and the sun is like music.  The sky is full of music.  Music comes streaming down these great beams.  The wind touches the trees, shakes little jits of music.  The shape of every flower is like a sound.  My hands open like five petals. 
Isaiah – or was it Elisha? – was caught up into Heaven in a chariot of fire once.  But when the weather is divine and I am free to work, such a journey is positively nothing.
Into the unknown, the unpredictable, the possible.
Into the unfamiliar, the void, the yonder. Wide, blue or otherwise.
Into self, into retreat, into the next chapter.
Going, going….


Broad beans, blueberries, figs, licorice allsorts…

Beetroot, broccoli, fennel, artichokes, olives, mangoes, dark chocolate, baked potatoes, beetroot, leeks, fennel seeds, lentils, broccoli, chilli, figs, beetroot, broccoli, figs…

And I love cooks. And chickpeas. And cannellini beans. And what cooks do with them. And pasta. And spice. And gardeners who grow all this bounty.

And did I mention cheese?




Pink ones best of all.

And scented.

Oh the scent of a dark maroon Mr Lincoln.

But pink ones are memories of my mother. Pink and full-blown and perhaps even a little torn at the edges of the petals – weathered by wind and rain, possibly. Dotted with dew. Love.


The turn of the key in the door. The smell of toast. Napping. Whole days in pyjamas. Dropping it all. Silence. Cups of tea. More cups of tea. My neighbour’s footsteps on his wooden boards. Almond-scented soap. Being busy. Getting it done. The achievement of a clean hand-basin. Bleach. Layers of remembering. Rosemary along the verandah. Birds bathing in bowls. Baking vegetables. Reading. Singing aloud. Dancing to the songs of the eighties when no-one can see. Clean laundry. Getting dirty. The familiar shower. The piles of books. The evidence, everywhere, of family and friends and lives shared…

I think this must be the first of many such posts. I’m only just warming up.

It’s still grey outside but random happiness fills the room, and I have not even begun to talk about my family, my friends, those who have read the book, those who subscribe to these posts, those who tell me stories at book events, those who gave me stories to tell. There is not a snapshot big enough to hold all of you, but my heart is trying to do you justice. I am specifically, not randomly, overjoyed when I think of those I love, who inspire me and spur me on, and remind me to do better. To be better. To strive to breathe each day in, and to live it well.

As I’ve been typing, I have received emails from two booksellers. Did I mention that bookstores make me happy? They also make me small, in the face of wonder and so many stories, and they lift me up and out, with all the promise they contain. Those who run them, the independent booksellers, make me glad and grateful. So much so, that I wrote a story about them. If you also love and are gladdened by booksellers, please have a look at the piece, over at the Meanjin website.


And don’t be shy about leaving a comment about your beloved bookstore. They deserve to be celebrated for the happiness they bring. Share the post around. Invite others to add their local store to it. We will only have them if we care for them.

Ain’t that the truth about all of life?

Gracias. Thank you.

A PS. If you have not read it, there is another bookstore post I wrote some time ago over at the Wheeler Centre.