I read somewhere that awe is the experience of feeling the whole range of emotions at once - joy, horror, fear, wonder all rolled into one. I can't say the past month of packing, cleaning, moving has been awe all the way (when I was sobbing on the bed on the green shade-cloth covered verandah of an at that stage filthy house with hungry kids - that was not awe. There was no hint of happiness. It was just exhaustion mixed with mild panic that this was how it was going to be forever) , but if I look at the month as a whole there has been a lot of what makes up awe. So here is a kind of awe compilation - my top ten list from both ends of the awe spectrum.
The Horror List
1) Skort: I physically shuddered when I first heard this word standing outside the uniform cage underneath Daisy's school. No one winked or smiled or fake vomited at the words "so for her skort, what do you think, size 4 or 6?".
2) The very particular sensation of tiny mouse poos showering down and falling in between your toes: Wiping down a high shelf in a house where no one has lived for some time with bare feet will do it. There is something so deflating about having to repeatedly flare your toes to dislodge the little nuggets while trying to avoid using your fingers.
3) Spending a couple of nights as the only adult in the house (may I remind you this new house is on a farm quite far away from anything else) unable to get Capote's In Cold Blood out of my head.
4) Being all of a sudden responsible for securing the house water supply through a complex system of pumps that you have to turn on or off in different combinations depending on different situations, with the final warning. "If the water starts sputtering and you think it has run out, turn everything off before it blows up".
5) Being confronted face to face with the amount of stuff one has: The mountains of boxes don't lie. It was sickening.
The Joy List
6) Moving into a tiny house where the contents of only a fraction of the aforementioned boxes can fit. I cannot tell you how liberating it is to be operating with a capsule wardrobe, an eight piece dinner set and a limited amount of toys to pick up at the end of the day. And to be able to stand in the kitchen and touch each cupboard, tap, appliance without taking a step is a kind of Rachel Khoo Little Paris Kitchen revelation to me.
7) Gary with his weathered, friendly face, who rocks up to our house on the hill in an old red ute packed with fresh fruit, veggies and homemade pickles every fortnight. He can't speak so instead he communicates with a notebook and pen, writing in caps which strikes me as rather inefficient but nonetheless charming. It makes me feel like a frontier station woman.
8) Swimming in the the river. It is spectacular. And seeing mum and dad sleep in an old Bedford bus.
9) The kitten. I am not sure how I could have made it to the age of 34 while remaining completely unaware of how magical the purring of a cat was. Now I am and I love her. I even let her sleep on my feet at night.
10) My husband. He has responded to the call of the wild with such energy. He has come alive. And not just for farm things but on the domestic front too. I took the kids away for a week and he painted the entire house. And he now says things like "no matter how many mornings it takes, I will wake up and work hard to make our dreams come true" which for girls like me is in itself a dream come true.
I have no recipe to offer in this post. There was a cake for a forgotten birthday. Two simple sponge cakes filled with cream and strawberries covered with a whipped cream and white chocolate ganache, but I would like to tweak the ganache recipe before committing it to writing. For now I'm just getting back in the awe-filled groove of things.
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