Victoria’s regional covid lockdown was lifted last night as metropolitan Melbourne continues on for a further week. We are lucky to live in a rural hamlet at such times, surrounded by a sea of winter green. I look out the window at swaying limbs with a few fluttering leaves, bird like. Around me the land continues its cycle of life and decay. The scars of recent damaging winds fade with each week passing. Workers still work the roads, cutting up fallen trees and leaving handable logs to be spirited away by men with trailers.

In my small, immediate world, birds wander at my feet foraging for worms and grubs in the freshly dug earth and in the sky, other birds gather from nowhere when Barbara appears on the verandah.

A friend, a few years older, said, you get old fast, Julian. You wake up one year, and there it is, upon you. He lives in a nearby forest where he is visited by King Parrots during the day and the wind at night. He is an active octogenarian, periodically consumed by his own doubts and concerns with his mortality. As we all should be. How we age is mainly in our own hands, in how we handle the congenital cards we were dealt, luck, a will to continue and a best friend.

I wander in our garden, tended over the seasons by Barbara, catching glimpses of plants in change, lone lizards slipping under logs and insects flickering between shrubs, occasionally landing on a leaf floating in the fish pond to drink before moving on. I look at the garden with a new kind of joy. I no longer wrangle other thoughts at moments like this. I am in the ‘here and now’ ready to sit still.

The remnants of our shared life sit on our shelves or tucked away in boxes and drawers. Then there are the memories, the ones I insist on carrying within me, till the end. Never to be shed? Do I persist with words and drawings or discard them and enjoy the garden? I write this ‘fragment’ to keep my blog alive, and to say, “I will be back.”

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