Contentment in Broken Hill

I had almost forgotten how much I love to travel. There is such a pleasure in breaking my own familiar routine and going somewhere new. I used to really struggle with it. I remember my first train trip over to Melbourne a few years ago, crying on the train because I was so overwhelmed with the disorientation of being in an unfamiliar environment. Being back in Broken Hill again is the best of all worlds, new but also now familiar. I love the flat landscape with the little hillocks, the balls of shrubs and grasses in shades of grey-green and olive. The sky is a magnificent blue and the earth rust red or fire orange.

I’ve had a wonderful day. I spent the morning doing the last of the critical admin, and was finally able to get my tafe account unlocked so I could finish enrolling my classes. In the end I decided to drop the second class, Art history, for first term. Mostly because I’ve got a place in a Radio Adelaide class instead and can’t fit them all in. The rest of the day I have been utterly lazy and indulgent. I meandered up the main street in the afternoon, through the softly falling rain. Window shopped, being tempted by raspberry vinegar, imported turkish delight, a two litre home ice cream maker… The bookshop Browers was as always a favourite. Considering the higher than usual population of artists in Broken Hill, the art shops and the bookshops are very well stocked. There was a book on torch worked glass that made me want to cry. I had no idea such beautiful forms could be achieved with only a torch! I am keener than ever to set up a glass studio in my home. (or perhaps, backyard) I’ve no idea how you sell any of it because there is no way I would put anything in the post but I just itch to melt and twist and shape glass… Another was on bead embroidery, another passion of mine. I have a couple of books on this topic already, but this was unique in that it showed how to safely back bead embroidered jewellery to give it the structural strength to be worn and last. I was really impressed with the quality of the work. Last time I was here I came home with the book on sumi-e (Japanese Ink Painting) and a photographic book of Australian artists in their studios. Magnificent! Plus, the bookshop name (Browsers) always reminds me of Bowser’s Castle…

Tomorrow is planned a trip to Silverton to investigate a museum there, and perhaps going home with one of the poets to admire their art collection. We had a quiet night by the pool here at the Tourist Lodge, dinner was an incredible korma and we chatted and joked and talked about poetry into the night. Someone found a guitar and sang for us, stranded travellers found lodging, we sipped at wine, kids splashed in the pool. I am a very busy person, and I derive a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from being productive, from learning and making and achieving goals. But it is also so wonderful to be unproductive for a time, to sit and watch and listen and feel the rain gently falling. I’m so glad I came.

hibiscus, dripping with rain 

The Broken Hill for which the town is named 

The Nimbus 2012?

I’ve never seen a prohibition with a time window before

Noticing drought hardy plants for future reference

The lovely resident gargoyle sends her regards 

I’ve plenty of poems ready for the reading tomorrow and am looking forward to hearing what everyone else has been working on. I am feeling even more inspired to publish a booklet of poems soon! It’s going to be a wonderful Australia Day here, I hope yours is great too.

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