The other day my Mum told me the above plant near the butterfly is ‘sacred’ and wards off bad spirits. I have lots of them outside my house, so this is a kind of cool thing to know if you believe bad spirits need to be warded off.
Sharing stories and photos on facebook has lead to interesting discoveries such as this, and more, as my Mum comments on my status statements about a memoir I am writing.
It reminds me of my childhood when she would tell me stories about bush fairies, and how they would look out for me when I walked to school. I wanted to believe her, but I wasn’t always sure, and so I took what I needed from her stories and thought of strength surrounding me if I needed it.
Now we are separated by thousands of miles and I live on what Tasmanians call the ‘mainland’, or did when I was a kid.
I love how my Mum remembers all the stories from her mother and father. My PNG grandfather was a medicine man, who also had a sideline of spells, so it doesn’t surprise me she talks about plants this way. My grandmother is a mystery whose voice I have heard and face never seen to remember although I touched it as a tiny baby as she rocked me when I had a bad ear ache. She called for her daughter, and grand daughter across a vast ocean. I wish I had a real memory of her, but I only have imagined ones.
The other day Mum and I were discussing our vegie patch – that supplied the family when we were kids. Sometimes we remember the same things, and other times our recollections are different. Families, communities, towns, there can be so many perspectives on the same events.
I love it when all the versions of a story breathe into the same space and say listen to me. Somewhere between all the stories are shared memories and each account enriches the other. However, there are times when truth is so important, when someone’s life and freedom is at stake. There can truer and clearer versions of a story. The challenges being rose coloured glasses, and glasses without any glass at all (needed for someone with poor vision).
Not all truth can be relative as otherwise where would ethics and principle reside. Funny how a picture of a butterfly and a plant can lead to a meditation on truth, justice, and ethics, and a memory of childhood lead to a thought on how to make the world a better place.
Today a friend and I discussed how do we uplift children and youth to break cycles, to make a new story for themselves and their future children. I realise that in many ways my mother and father rewrote their stories – and they married across cultures, geography and did not confine themselves to preset cycles.
How then do we let go of the things in the past and present that hold us back? What do you think?
(c) June Perkins