This weekend was one which challenged my natural-born pessimism. Often, when the wind blows in from the sea and the leaves march in swirls along the gutters, I see dust rising like a heat haze from the grasses in the park. It sweeps over the road, carried upwards, settling on window ledges, filling my eyes with grit. When the dust comes it is like waking with a bad headache; I usually take it as a grim portent. Yet the dust came this weekend, fine as ground chalk, settling where it would, carrying nothing but the sound of the wind that stirred it.
We had a Federal Election in Australia on Saturday. Many of us were hoping for a change, a sign that maybe there was a chance for a better future. It came with unexpected ease, rich and lush as the slip of home-made elderberry jam from a spoon.
Today Australia has a new Prime Minister who is immediately going to tackle climate change and initiate a plan to withdraw our troops from Iraq. He has further plans to tackle the myriad problems in health and public education. I have further hopes that I almost fear to articulate because they are so dear to me – that a better life may be created for the battlers, the disenfranchised, the homeless, people whose lives are only filled with morsels of light not entire rays.
A change of government is what many of us have waited for, for a long time. When it comes it is akin to the relief felt when a particularly tight-fitting pair of shoes is removed. Your feet may be red-rimmed and swollen but you know that without the shoes they will begin to heal.
Getting something you have waited for, you have wanted, yet almost given up on, leaves you wavering between belief and its absence when it finally arrives. As we leave the house to have celebratory drinks with friends, I pause. A little spider, grey with black legs, spins a web, the pattern like the grooves in an old vinyl record. It is so perfect, so solid, that I imagine lifting it gently at either side and carrying it to my house where I would place it on sheets of handmade paper and then hang it like a talisman above my bed. Tenacious, fragile beauty.
I have a drink. I have a laugh. I discuss the workings of the day, but my mind stays on that spider and her web as she works, weaves and persists; her resolve undisputed; long into the night.