voicing the voice


Off to face the world!

It began foggy, damp and cold. We lay in bed, unwilling to emerge from under our warm cocoon. Angel alarm has not been working for some time now. Is it her age? No matter, mumma’s turn to take over the waking up process.

All quiet, apart from the whirring of traffic and birdsong – absolute bliss. No anxious listening out for grating vocalisations and cling-clang-slam of doors etc, planning the morning dash to kitchen and bathroom to avoid having our morning peace cruelly interrupted. Or destroyed.

I heave my creaky bones off the bed, Lucy stares intently at me from her warm little bundle. “Mumma’s going to the loo, then I’ll fix your breakfast, ok?” As if I needed her permission? Go, human, just go!

Breakfast slurped down, our mini entourage ventured forth into the cold air, just for a little toilette. A little excitement builds, what will we do today? It feels like a holiday, just me and my muse! Picked up a mocha coffee from across the road. I need the cup for Lucy’s food, I forgot to bring it along. Breakfast was coffee and banana. Lucy had half the banana, of course.

Then a long walk to soak up the sensory vibe of the neighbourhood. The abundance of grass lends the atmosphere a scent of shivering piquant green and orange. Whirring whirring cars slide across the road, as birds flutter and chirp. A song I wrote and performed in 2010, “Two,” made its way into my headspace, and I began to sing as we walked along. I have not sung in a very very long time. The air, the space, the vibe was just not a songful one. This morning, a black greyhound in blue coatie and a strange human made their way up and down the hill and across the footpaths, sniffing and vocalising inside shared a bubble of moving clemency. Some emotional vibrancy seeped back through the cracks that the voice began to make on the crusted armour of weariness. A thrill. I still own my voice! Lucy is calmer when I sing to her. I have not done that in ages.

We popped into the shops and picked up some sustenance. Expensive and overpriced, but the Bunny needs to eat, and the Chinese shopkeeper was welcoming – he either understood fully about assistance dogs (I presented Lucy at the entrance and indicated with a smile that she is my assistance dog) or he is a dog lover. Or both. The pharmacist was equally cheerful. So much better than the previous evening’s haughty NO DOGS waitress at the pizza cafe. Ah well.

In the midst of the grand controversy over the NSW Premier’s declaration of banning greyhound racing, Lucy is getting even more attention now. I hear whispers and exclamations, “Hey, a greyhound!” … and “Oh, what a beautiful dog!” … Two children politely ask to pat her, and we stop for strokes. Lucy is patient. Human children are not her favourite but she is ok when they are calm and gentle. These were. I won’t allow them near if they weren’t. I have a phobia for noisy children myself.

My backpack stuffed full of rations, we trotted home. Lucy stopped and wanted to walk the longer route. I followed. It’s ok, we don’t need to hurry today. Today is for you and me, Lucy! The sunshine crept up and enveloped us in its warm shimmer. I stopped to take Lucy’s blue coatie off, leaving her under T on. People walked by and again, I heard, “Look, a greyhound!” I feel a sense of pride, and wellspring of gratitude to the universe, of all the dogs in the world, a greyhound walked into my life and changed my entire worldview. How much of an honour is this, then?

As we headed towards our temporary home-base, Lucy sniffed and I pondered the usual behemoth of Clement Space. Ever since I submitted my PhD, the Grand Obsession has permeated my mental and emotional focus. I know I have stumbled upon a very important, fiercely cogent and fundamentally essential concept. OK, you heard the term first right here, my friends and readers! Clement Space!

Lucy smiled. I laughed. We are here, together, alive and well, inside clemency!

Home, luncheon for two is served. Princess Lucy had a large roo strip and a huge piece of crunchy lamb puff. Mumma sat down to a simple bread, Camembert and olives by the window. The shiny rays illuminated the dank darkness accumulated over half a year of insistent horror, and Lucy’s intent yet tranquil watchfulness from her elegant position in the day bed was balm to a very tired and weary soul.

My hypersenses are triggered by fluctuations in temperature. I wrapped the icy cold exploding skull in a cotton scarf. Wool is warmer but it makes me itch too much. My fingers are cold, as the rest of my body heats up under the blanket that I now share with Lucy. We are snuggling in the day bed. She is sleeping. I am listening to the ambient noises, far away laughter, leather balls being kicked, humming traffic, and occasional doors opening and closing outside my room. I am thinking about John Cage. I think about him a lot these days too. A bird outside our window seems to be trying to tell me something. Cosmic, wordless, elemental enunciations.

Time for the bodies to rest. I need to learn from Lucy, the deeper meaning of Sonorous Repose.

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