Sunday, February 28, 2016

my country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Dorothea Mackellar

Monday, February 22, 2016

Man Cave vs A Room of One's Own

“I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee’s life of the poet. She died young—alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the cross–roads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here to–night, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh. This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her. For my belief is that if we live another century or so—I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals—and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting–room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky, too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton’s bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born. As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would he impossible. But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worth while.” 

A Room of One's Own, Virgina Wolf, 1929.

Last Thursday, Feb 18th, it was my first month Aussie anniversary. One month in Adelaide,  feels longer  though, for I have met so many people, been to so many places, done and learnt so many things. One of the skills that I'm getting better at is LANGUAGE, particularly, ENGLISH. I am sure that you may all be aware of how quick one picks up new words and expressions whenever one is in an English speaking country . I've come across this one many times already: Man Cave. Last time, only yesterday. 

Last night, I had been very kindly invited to dinner at Mike & Elena's place up in Eden Hills. Beautiful spot. I met them only some days before but we got along well almost inmediately. Mike is a travelling soul mate. He hitch-hiked across Europe in the 60's, including Spain. He's got amazing stories to tell [we will be working on that] After having a drink, I was shown to one of Mike's Man Caves: His Home Brewery. When asked about Elena's Woman Cave, Mike answered that she had the rest of the rooms of their house for herself. Some weeks ago, my host's partner, Paul, also referred to his whole home as a Man Cave as he shares the house with one of his mates. 

We'll let the boys - The Boys were two fully grown up men in their late sixties- do their Boy Stuff and we -referrring to two other women and the speaker herself- can continue trimming this bush over here. Comment to which I could not refrain from answering I'm gonna do Boy Things, they're more fun. Boy Things being, in this case, cutting down a tree with a chain saw in a private garden. Not that it matters really.

However, English is less patronising a language than other ones such as Spanish, my native tongue. A couple of examples, below:

Coñazo: slang SEXIST word meaning boring. It is a word that derives from coño which means vagina.  

Polla: slang SEXIST word meaning awesome, great, amazing. It actually means penis.

So, let me break it down for you, just in case, you did not get it yet. If something is DULL and BORING then it is FEMININE, Es un coñazo. On the other hand, if something is COOL, FUN, GREAT, AWESOME, then it's MASCULINE.¡Es la polla!

I was just wondering if anybody else out there felt the same way I feel about this, which is: WORDS SHAPE REALITY, WORDS ACTUALLY DO MATTER. Therefore, if we carry on using SEXIST EXPRESSIONS, we will carry on shaping the World in a sexist form. I can not help but remembering my great friend Mr. Wilson who once told me he truly thought that if women ruled the World or at least there were more of us in higher positions, the Earth would be a less violent and better planet to live on. I do not know about that but I do feel that if there were more people like Mr. Wilson the planet would be a kinder place to inhabit.

Monday, February 15, 2016

de árbol a árbol

Los árboles
¿serán acaso solidarios?

¿digamos el castaño de los campos elíseos
con el quebrancho de entre ríos
o los olivos de jaén
con los sauces de tacuarembó?

¿le avisará la encina de westfalia
al flaco alerce de tirol
que administre mejor su trementina?

y el caucho de pará
o el baobab en las márgenes del cuanza
¿provocarán al fin la verde angustia
de aquel ciprés de la mission dolores
que cabeceaba en frisco

¿se sentirá el ombú en su pampa de rocío
casi un hermano de la ceiba antillana?

los de este parque o aquella floresta
¿se dirán de copa a copa que el muérdago
otrora tan sagrado entre los galos
ahora es apenas un parásito
con chupadores corticales?

¿sabrán los cedros del líbano
y los caobos de corinto
que sus voraces enemigos
no son la palma de camagüey
ni el eucalipto de tasmania
sino el hacha tenaz del leñador
la sierra de las grandes madereras
el rayo como látigo en la noche?

Mario Benedetti.

Be the Best of Whatever You Are

-For medium or low voice and piano-

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley — but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass —
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here,
There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
And the task you must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail —
Be the best of whatever you are!

Douglas Malloch

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

las pequeñas lecciones de zoe

Y sin tenerte, te tengo a ti y tengo a mi guitarra.
Mi guitarra y vos, Jorge Drexler.

Ni meditación ni nada parecido, Zoe sí que sabe aquello que es No aferrarse a nada y VIVIR el presente.

Ejemplo #1. Cuando en Diciembre, Bala nos dijo hasta luego - mi hermana pequeña y progenitora de Zoe la había criado desde que era una cachorilla- Zoe simplemente se encogió de hombros y proclamó en voz alta que Hay que comer, porque si no comes te mueres como Bala. Después del trago de la inyección y al ver y sentir la tristeza de su madre y La Tía Moni, Zoe se dedico toda la tarde a hacernos reír. Saco sus mejores payasadas y bromas del bolsillo para vernos reír. En este momento es cuando HORRORIZADA pensé para mí ¡Que no nos salga Actriz por Ala!!! ¡Que es muy ingrata la profesión y encima acabas en la cárcel!

Ejemplo #2. Exactamente hace 30 días Zoe se despedía de mí en su casa, en la cama, una mañana de domingo. Abrazándome y entre lágrimas me suplicaba que la trajera conmigo a Australia. Hoy, día de su cumpleaños -seis años, ¡ya!-, cuando, entusiasmada, nada más levantarme he cogido el teléfono para llamarla y felicitarla y escuchar su fantástica voz aguda .... No se quiere poner. Acierto a escuchar la entrecortada voz de mi hermana Emi. El pasado es el pasado Tía Moni. Let it go. Aquella semana en Madrid, son solo recuerdos. Vive el presente, Tia Moni. Creo que ésta es la enseñanza que encierra esta llamada.

Pero....justo cuando iba a colgar, por un breve lapso de tiempo La Tia Moni ha conseguido atrapar la atención de la pequeña Zoe y ésta se ha puesto al teléfono para contarme que... Me llegó tu carta. El canguro ha llegado a su destino. Y claro, no he podido evitarlo y le he contado que el martes fui a hacer Kayak un poco más al norte, a Torrens Island y que tuvimos delfines siguiéndonos, bueno, más bien acompañándonos y jugando con nosotras, durante todo el recorrido a menos de 10 metros de distancia. Y, ahí, es cuando la he dejado muerta y sin palabras y me he imaginado perfectamente su preciosa cara ojiplática y en silencio.

Monday, February 08, 2016

yo estoy aquí de paso

Hay gente que es de un lugar, no es mi caso,
yo estoy aquí de paso.

Jorge Drexler

Viajar es sanador. ¿verdad? preguntó J. desde el otro lado del mundo.

Sí. Viajar es, como decía el Maestro Javier Reverte, como ver pasar el mundo a tu alrededor y verlo desde fuera.

Viajar es como ver tu reflejo en un espejo a cada instante, 24/7. Verte reflejado en cada reacción, cada pequeña decisión a lo largo de los eternos 1.440 minutos de cada día. Reacciones ante lo conocido sacado de contexto o lo nuevo y desconocido. Mirarte. Evaluarte. Puntuarte. Juzgarte. 


Viajar es como actuar. Viajar te convierte en una trabajadora eventual del arte de la comedia. En un personaje de ficción. Yo, por ejemplo, me siento como una muñeca de trapo creada por Jim Henson, La Tïa Moni Viajera, atrapada en un Show de Truman de bajo presupuesto, de pacotilla.

Viajar es como tener a Zoe junto a mí todo el tiempo, preguntándome constantemente...

¿Por qué?
¿Por qué se conduce en Australia por el otro lado?
¿Por qué no se ven canguros de día?
¿Por qué hablan inglés en Australia?
¿Por qué es verano en Adelaide?
¿Por qué te vas a la cama cuando yo estoy desayunando?
¿Por qué?
¿Por qué?
¿Por qué hay una valla que separa Melilla del resto de África?
¿Por qué?
¿Por qué existen las fronteras?
¿Por qué?
¿Por qué hay guerras?
¿Por qué?
¿Qué hizo que tú nacieras donde has nacido y no, por ejemplo, en Siria? o en el Congo? o en Arabia Saudí? o En Kazajistán? o En Ukrania? o En Vanuatu? o En Papúa Nueva Guinea? Puede alguien responder a esta pregunta? Me pregunto.

¿ Por qué? Y viajar es darte cuenta de que la mayoría del tiempo NO SABES LAS RESPUESTAS y que las pocas respuestas que sí sabes contestar a los millones de preguntas que te asaltan son respuestas aprehendidas automáticamente, nunca testadas previamente.

Viajar es un baño de humildad humana. Viajar es experimentar que una es insignificante y muy muy pequeñita en este maravillosamente gigante planeta en el que hemos tenido la suerte de nacer.

Así que, Sí, Viajar es sanador. Debería ser una asignatura obligatoria en la educación de TODXS LOS SERES HUMANOS, especialmente de aquellos que hemos tenido el privilegio no ganado por derecho, si no regalado al azar, de nacer en familias acomodadas donde cada día de nuestras vidas hemos podido comer, al menos.

#69 #downunder #WHATMAKESUSHUMAN #viajar #SaveTheEarthIsTheOnlyPlanetWithChocolate 

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

a promise is a promise

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Albert Einstein

I keep receiving these messages asking me to upload photos of the place I'm in, the country I'm at, as if my words were not enough. As if people would rather see than imagine. It's a pity. I have always preferred being told stories, fairy tales. Let my imagination fly. I get too stressed if I have too much visual information. 

To me, a picture is just the dead account of a place, a person, a moment. Whereas, words capture something more delicate, subtle and unique. They capture somebody's emotions, feelings, thoughts. Words are inmortal. Words do not fade over time.

Anyhow, I did promise Mr. Wilson I would post some pics and so I will. I promise. 

#69 #luckynumber #downunder #promises #adelaide #SA