Saturday, 20 December 2014

Gardenias and Local Heroes


It’s the scent that first hits me…

I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy trip to the city, but it’s one I wanted, needed to make.

But I couldn’t have anticipated the sweet air streets away

Gardenias. Roses. Hyacinths.  More gardenias. Lilies.  

Lavender. Stock, and more gardenias.

I took dahlias from my local shop miles away.

The woman at the counter knew they were for Martin Place.  

She lovingly wrapped them in wet paper and added a little water to the plastic bag.

She had almost sold out and it wasn’t yet 10 o’clock in the morning.
I walk through quiet Sydney streets.

Families alongside walk in the same direction.

We nod at each other. Silent. Sullen.

All carrying flowers. Lindt chocolates.

The children have toys, notes and signs of love.

It is the least we can do… pay our respects in this, the humblest way.
I wanted to write and tell Them that this was not in vain.

We will make this a safer place. For our children. For her children.

But I cannot see the page for tears and now the page is soaked. 

All I can write is love and sorry.  And love again.

And they too blend into a pool of inky wetness.

A child cries. He wants to eat the Lindt chocolate bear. 

His mother’s tribute.

She gives it to him knowing, They would understand.

He, fortunately, is too young to understand.

A stranger hands her a rose to place in the sea of colour and scent.

A girl with beautiful Irish eyes breaks away from her group.

She buys crisps and a bottle of water from the kiosk and hands it to the homeless man huddled behind a column.

His world in a bag next to him. 

He smiles at her and mouths “thank you”.
At the bottom of Martin Place a giant Christmas tree looms overhead

Gaudy decorations glint in the sunlight…

People everywhere. 

Brought together through shock, tears and a deep sadness…

Things for us in this city will never be quite the same again.

And through it all strains of Mark Knopfler's Going Home gently fills the silent void. 

A lone musician’s tribute to the Local Heroes of the Martin Place Lindt café.
I think how blessed I am to be doing just that...

Going home.

Going home to hug my baby a little tighter.

In the cold hard light of day it doesn’t matter that the breakfast things were left in the sink...  

Or the bedroom is untidy... 

Or that she’s going to be late for work...

I am going home.

Deeply touched by the scent of gardenias and Local Heroes.

My love to you and your family.

May you keep them safe always.

Frannie xx
Saturday, December 20, 2014








Friday, 12 December 2014

Looking out



It’s instinct!
 That which draws us to peer into the beyond…
 To peek around the corner…
To see who or what lies out there…
 To look through…
 To look in…
 To look out…
 To wonder about the other side of here.
 That overwhelming desire to step through…
 To stand in the light…
And live outside the frame.



Frannie xx     
© 2014 Francesca Muir


Monday, 1 December 2014

Summer is here!

Like a sprite from the sea


She giggles and tumbles in her giant sandpit...


Gossamer hair dancing in the warm winds...


She lives in a word of sandy delight...


Her laughter singing with the waves...



Summer is here...
Bliss.



Frannie xx     

© 2014 Francesca Muir




Thursday, 20 November 2014

My Spiritual Home


There's one place on earth where I don’t like to sleep as I don’t want to miss a thing.
I don’t want to waste a minute of the day, or night.
It’s my spiritual home. 
It's the place where I take off my suit of armour and just be Me.
It’s where I breathe deeply,
and where I laugh and play like a child again.


It’s where suddenly I am speaking my newly-acquired second language, without reticence and hesitation, and I’m understood.

Where I live like a local, with only a passing notion of time and a glorious tendency to live spontaneously.

“Sit for a coffee.”
“Share a meal with me.”
“Let’s take a walk.”
“Come for a swim.”

It’s so liberating.


The place is small but has a gargantuan history and culture, and has contributed more to the rest of the world than any other place its size. 

It has endured centuries of invasions and so been injected with extraordinary influences such as Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish to name a few.   

It lies at the heart of the Mediterranean diet and is known as the cradle of western civilization thanks to the ingenuity of the Minoan race.

It is the island of Crete.

The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is a tourist mecca. But push past the noisy the English-style cafes and the lines of shops selling gaudy t-shirts and you’ll find the ‘other’ Crete.

"My" Crete… 
 

...where the food is all locally grown. It's literally taken from the ground and the sea the very morning it’s lovingly cooked with olive oil from the trees outside the kitchen window and fresh oregano and thyme from the fields beyond.
...where an angular, blue-eyed shepherd deftly herds his flock over the ragged, unforgiving terrain, to the tune of the goat bells clanging in harmony with their own echoes from the mountains above.

...where Yia Yias (grandmothers) enshrouded in black blithely sweep the crooked pathways around their village, while the men loudly discuss the day’s news from under tamarisk trees as they repair sunflower- coloured fishing nets.


...where the aroma of strong Greek coffee and Assos cigarettes coming from every cafeneion beckons like forbidden fruit …since when did cigarettes smell so good?

...where pale Cretan cats, lithe and sleek, sleep Sphinx-like beneath Carob trees dripping with fruit.

...where I swim far, far into the blue as I play hide and seek with an octopus scurrying along the sand and pottery shards beneath me.

...where the Mediterranean sun hopscotches over crystal clear waters creating blues and greens unseen on an artist’s easel.


It's where visually, life is like living in a postcard.

Where, despite the political and financial woes of the country I am treated as one of the family – greeted with open arms and a warm hug and generously given everything they have.  
 Food…oh so much food.   A place to stay.  The use of their only vehicle...the list is endless.

It’s where I rise daily just as a pomegranate sun first spreads her sleepy fingers over the hill, creeping forward and painting all gold as she passes.


My own very special place in Crete is a little balcony in Adrakos Apartments, a family-run Cretan escape nestled high on a hill between the two fishing villages of Agios Nikolaos and Elounda on the East Coast.

Here I sit looking at a view which defies description.  Suffice to say I can see forever. 

Over pristine bays and whitewashed houses; perfect hotels with their perfect swimming pools; Byzantine churches; old windmills and a road which meanders along the water’s edge. 

In the distance I can see the island of Spinalonga – or what I call 
‘the island of infinite tears’ for it too has a huge, but very different history.


Crete 
Where I voraciously consume the days and nights
…exploring…eating…swimming…
walking… talking…learning...
questioning…writing…photographing…
observing…absorbing…thinking…
dreaming…planning…breathing
...living.


Here I am truly inspired
Passing time wisely
With no regrets
Just being Me.


First published in We Said Go Travel
And then again in Crete Travel 

Frannie xx     


© 2014 Francesca Muir
















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