Spinning blue gum in the kitchen

I amble down the corridor, my head still full of sleep and dreams. Throughout the night I had dreamed a lot of the usual nonsense, but I also remember my nanna had appeared. Her memory reminds me of cosy, warm nights at her house when I was younger and it had been nice to be with her again. I hang onto those feelings and let the other dreams fade back to wherever they came from and they are instantly forgotten. 

I already know what’s going to happen today – I’m about to spend another day inside my house. I think this is the fifth month of restrictions on our movements. As a simple coping mechanism I’ve learned to approach the day with optimism and not expect or imagine a reality where going somewhere is possible. Unmet expectation is a gateway to disappointment.

This seems like a sensible way of processing this temporary situation, but lately I’ve been wondering if during normal times I restrict my expectations to what only is reasonably possible as a way of protecting myself from frustration. What are some things I’d like to do but don’t pursue because I don’t see an obvious pathway to it happening? Is anything actually stopping me, for example, from having more fun with my art? Going on multi-day bushwalks? Buying a property in the Australian bush? Blasting off into space to look down upon Australia in its entirety and then have my hand held as I descend to Earth because I’ve lost my mind? 

I enter the kitchen to make my breakfast – peanut butter spread thickly on toast will be simple but perfect. I place a plate and knife on the table beside a blue, glass vase holding stems of spinning blue gum leaves. I bought these leaves from the market over three weeks ago when we were briefly allowed to venture further from our house and they are still looking healthy. My guess is it’s partly because of the winter cold slowing their deterioration. 

I look into the leaves and see green-blue with hints of burgundy and umber. I am intrigued by their pattern and how they cascade from small to larger. There’s obvious purpose and design to this organisation, unlike a lot of other Australian plants. They are here in my kitchen because they are window into nature, through sight and their subtle eucalyptus fragrance. They remind me the natural world is still out there thriving. 

Spinning blue gum in the kitchen – Oil on canvas – 30cm x 20cm

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