There's nothing like going away from home to remind me of what is important in my life.
Friends are very important to me, which is why my youngest son and I went to Melbourne for nine days to visit our best friends. I was present at Geralyn's birth 19 years ago, and Jenny was present at my son's birth 18 years ago. They moved away when G was only three, but even though we have seen each other just twice a year or less, not only have Jenny and I remained friends, so also have Jeff and Geralyn retained an amazing connection. The internet, of course, makes things much easier than when I was his age and stuck with snail mail.
The first thing I was reminded of, was how much I really do love my husband. A lot of the time I find it easy to let Mac fall into the taken-for-granted category: being away reminded me that he has become integral a part of my life.
What I had really not realised was how much my physical environment affects me.
I need personal space: I need time and space where I can sit / blob / read / dance / sing without anyone around. I need the freedom to indulge my own silly little habits and rituals.
I need to connect to the natural world.
Even just nine days in an air conditioned, 14th floor, CBD apartment in Melbourne left me jittery, twitchy and disconnected.
Home again, I am relishing each breath of natural air: the smoky tang when the fire is burning; the sweet earthiness that rises from the soil when it rains; the scent of crushed nasturtiums as I walk back from feeding the chooks that washes away the smell of the hen house; the clean starched-sheet freshness of a frosty morning.
Despite cold, I stand outside, until my neck hurts and seizes up, looking up at the sky: the magnificence of a starry night or a country birthday bonfire far exceeds that of city lights.
It was fun visiting friends, exploring a little bit of Melbourne, but it is a very foreign place to me. Call me a country bumpkin - it's what I am, and what I am glad to be.