More Words or,… when Words fail me.

The cluster of cables united

The cluster of cables united

There is something about putting words down that relieves the spirit of falling into despair or should that be disrepair. Is it a bit like confessing ones sins? The sins of not having put to paper the words that keep piling up in the queue of ‘what the heart is full of, the kettle/pot boils over’. In any case, it is encouraging that the latest medical science seems to support the idea that keeping a mind occupied is good for the physically diminishing, failing and rapidly ageing, thus preventing the dismal slide into dementia and the inevitable nurse with the snapping glove on hand asking’ how is Mr Oosterman today’, had your toilet this morning alright, or would you like some boiled pears to encourage and beget a good motion on its glorious downwards journey? She, of course, would never use those words. That’s why I wrote them and not the nurse!

If there is anything that will keep one going it would be to avoid ‘the boiled pear’ question in aged Methodist ‘Even-Tide’ care facility. If the reader detects a somewhat sombre note amongst these words; you are right. The weather is grey and listless. Not a leaf is moving and even the lawnmower rattle, usually busy in verdant distant gardens filled now with Rhododendrons, is eerily silent. Luckily, for all the years having passed there is wealth of memories still welling up to be put on record just in case that facility slides into the gloved nurse and boiled pear facilitated morning motion as well.

The previous reference to the rhododendron is one such memory.

Many years ago and back into our life in inner city Balmain, I gave private art lessons in our home. I had previously taught art to adults in Holland and thus had some experience in doing that. One of my students of the Balmain period was a woman who at a younger age had worked as a professional ballet dancer. She was an exceptionally good artist but sought encouragement and companionship with the other students.

Then, one day she said goodbye. She had bought a place in the Blue Mountains. She had often complained about the inner city becoming popular with the professional lot. Lawyers, bankers and high earners were infiltrating and Balmain was losing its bohemian and artistic ambience and slipping into respectfulness with middle class ambitions and inevitable life-stylers keen on privacy and exclusion, seclusion.

Then about two years later we met again on a street in Balmain. She was beaming and when I asked what happened she told me she was back again in Balmain. Despite the gentrification of Balmain she felt the Blue Mountains was worse. When pushed she said; “I could not stand the incessant talk in the Blue Mountains about those bloody Rhododendrons and Azaleas.” “It drove me nuts.” The neighbours, first thing in the morning; “oh how good your garden looks, oh, look at Mrs Kensington’s Rhododendron with the rolling r’s and vowelled o’s”. “I love flowers morning mists and rich friable soils but…I missed the inner city.” I am ready now to accept the lawyers and middle class.

So, there you are. Nothing is ever perfect but we can keep on finding it. It is elusive, but..it is the search…more than the outcome.
Thank you for reading a few more of my words.

I feel better now.

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37 Responses to “More Words or,… when Words fail me.”

  1. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Ah well, Gerard. I’m now so glad that you feel better about having written whatever was knocking on your skull. I have those moments too but I have not the “where with all” to put out the effort. Perhaps soon and perhaps not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It is a form of laziness combined with fear. The first brush-stroke is the worst, after that it gets better mainly because the first word suggests the next one. Apple as first word suggest ‘tree’ or for the more sexually innovative ‘Eve’. Fear of failure is what drives inaction.
      You and all those other brave souls, game enough to read the words are my pillars that hold up this rickety portico, preventing my total ruinous collapse.πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 3 people

  2. elizabeth2560 Says:

    It seems the grass is always greener on the other side…until you go across to the other side.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carrie Rubin Says:

    Ah, yes, mental aerobics. Meant to keep our minds sharp. Writing, crossword puzzles, reading. I don’t suppose watching mindless television counts though. But sometimes we have to do that, too…

    Like

  4. Yvonne Says:

    So, we’re your version of the “lie down on this sofa and talk to me”, are we?

    That’s fine, your payment of Leonard is gratefully accepted.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yvonne Says:

    Or “Closing Time”, perhaps.

    Like

  6. Andrew Says:

    You are younger than Kissinger, Gerard and I bought his new book today. There’s always time to put your thoughts down and I bet Kissinger couldn’t have written as elegantly as you do about boiled pears. Keep those words flowing.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but I am no Kissinger or a Hillary, just a soul lost in a world of boiled pears and chuck steak trying to make sense of it all. Thanks for your kindness and I loved that shot of the moth.
      Did you ever read a story by Virginia Woolf; the death of a moth?

      Like

  7. rod Says:

    I’m sure writing will help keeping the brain cells going. I am also told that writing with the hand you don’t usually use for that purpose can help, as can learning a new language or two. But you probably have several languages at your disposal already.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The languages that I learned at school stopped after migration at 15 years. All school children in Holland were taught four languages. We used inkwells and tipped pens for writing and ballpoints were frowned upon after their invention.
      How about you? Still writing with pens or keyboard?

      Like

  8. Lottie Nevin Says:

    I envy you your ability to write so prolifically and so well. It takes me forever to get something down on ‘paper’ and I worry so much about my grammar and whether the tone is right. You are a hard act to follow Mr Oosterman! I love your musings, please don’t stopπŸ˜€

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You’re a bit of a scribe yourself Lottie. Your last post and photos were fantastic and I so wished I could be in Spain and look over those endless olive fields. Your old and crumbling court yard wall being guarded by those simple and honest geraniums. How lovely!

      Like

  9. Silver in the Barn Says:

    A terrifying image you evoke, Gerard, of nurse with “snapping glove.” That’ll keep me reading and writing! And, yes, amazing how the grass is greener….

    Like

  10. auntyuta Says:

    ” . . . the idea that keeping a mind occupied is good for the physically diminishing, failing and rapidly ageing, thus preventing the dismal slide into dementia . . . . ”

    ‘Stream of consciousness’ writing, I think is what you are very, very good at, Gerard. Reading your posts is always a special treat and very rewarding. You have nothing to fear. For as long as you are conscious you are not going to run out of ‘stuff’ to write about that others are going to want to read.

    You say: “The weather is grey and listless.” Same here in Dapto for the last couple of days, and this after glorious sunshine last Sunday!
    I am sure however, that soon we’re going to have some more sunshine. πŸ™‚

    We are in Sydney for the next few days. Caroline, our youngest daughter, graduated, and the graduation ceremony is going to be in Sydney on Thursday. We are very proud of her.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging and kind words. You AuntyUta makes me want to go on with more words in a certain order.
      I am always pleased to see your photos of life at Dapto and your ability to see beauty wherever you go.
      How wonderful to be at the graduation of your daughter. Enjoy the time in Sydney and say hello to Peter.
      Hopefully one day we will have a coffee together somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I always feel better after reading a few of your words, Gerard!. The weather has a way of directing the condition of one’s attitude doesn’t it? My mother-in-law was not a lover of rain, and it was quite apparent in the winter months.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I can’t tell you how it makes me feel on top of the world reading your nice and encouraging words. Your way with words is always a pleasure to read and you have a very well honed sense of humour. Delicious and quirky. A terrific treat to read.

      Like

  12. Master of Something Yet Says:

    Yes, anything to stay out of the nursing home (and away from boiled pears) – writing, reading, art, and wine, lots of wine.

    Like

  13. M-R Says:

    I am glad you do.I suspect the core of the problem of which you write is that people are so seldom satisfied with their lot. Look at you: even though living where The Great Don lived, you have occasion to whinge ! [grin]
    Look at me: even though living in the little flat where Stringer and I lived for 8 years (almost 9), I have occasion to utter imprecations against my landlords.
    The thing is that neither of us is SUFFICIENTLY disenchanted as to up sticks, eh ?
    Does this mean we ARE satisfied with our lots ? – gosh !πŸ˜€

    Like

  14. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I like looking over the fence, but I like the grass on my side best.

    Like

  15. roughseasinthemed Says:

    Balmain (WP decided that was ball main). We went to a couple of parties and pubs there as good friends had a fine place. Barbie, drinks, great fun. Def not lawyers bankers and high earners, she was a nurse and he worked on the dockyard. But it was 1985.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The house in Balmain we lived in for twenty years we bought in 1976 for $ 74.000.-. It came up for sale a couple of weeks ago; asking price over $ 3 million! That’s what lawyers and high earners have achieved. Balmain was a terrific place then. It might still be, but the prices, ridiculous. A bubble will burst soon.

      Like

  16. chris hunter Says:

    Am I the only person to undergo the vision that we are all the same person, like the individual teeth on a comb, we appear independent, but underneath, joining us all together as one, the spine of the comb? Is this Jung’s collective unconscious? Tao?

    Could it be that live’s made tough are the lives that insist on individual status – thereby the propensity to nervous breakdown – and then, as sometimes happens to the psyche in disarray – the overwhelming, the oceanic sensation of a body without borders, am I being logical, making sense in my assertion?

    Just asking. I think Milo knows the answer, I can see it on his little face, sitting under the desk for two.

    Like

  17. chris hunter Says:

    Prior to entering the Mt Baldy Zen retreat in California Leonard Cohen was that ill from his nervous breakdown he could not even stand and had to be helped to walk. This precipitated his move to the monastery. When he’d improved a bit, his monk ordered him down to a local tennis centre to hit balls back to a ball-firing machine, over and over, kind of a react first and think later therapy. There is of course a great video (45 mins) on the net telling about his struggles. He’s just a man. Other than our sexuality, are any of us that different, really?

    Like

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