“and a very happy birthday to Jess beloved daughter
sister mother friend
may the love we share nurture
and reflect unto you the diVine beauty of your soul. “
first the collecting of seeds
the large crimson blooms heavy, flopping over bowing to the ground,
their fine feathery filaments soft and ticklish on the hand.
her legs and arms bare to the sun were a rich nut-brown,
an embroidered scarf covered her head holding her tangled curls free of her neck.
at a glance it could be any century any continent,
at a glance it was a task repeating itself over and over again.
the flower heads filled the basin –tiny black seeds jumping free dropped to the bottom.
on a sun grazed verandah her hands lifted and sifted, lifted and sifted, lifted and sifted once again.
bangles on both wrists flashed and rainbows danced across the mud brick wall behind her.
singing with the baby also nut brown sturdily made of mothers milk, its small hands waving the discarded flowers about, tasting them shaking them , imitating the actions of her mother.
once the women worked together perhaps beside a creek,
using a large flat rock with a hollow worn smooth.
with a round stone fitting snugly into the palm of the hand
they ground grains into flour.
on this day a mortar and pestle was carried to the verandah. handfuls at a time, not too many so that they skipped out of the bowl and not too few that it would take all day.
toned muscles rippled and pounded coaxing the transformation of the tiny black seed grains into flour.
while the baby bum high in the air slept in the middle of the lounge room
wearing the face of an angel
the alchemy continued.
following that long tradition of female ancestors – the flour, such a little amount but high in satisfaction, was added to other flours and with rainwater turned into flat breads.
a pot of lentils rich with garden veges – zucchini herbs carrot celery beans bubbled on the wood stove.
a murmur a snuffle a sigh and the baby came back in – banging the blocks the train the bells lying within reach.
the flat bread was turned over on the top of the stove
and pockets of air popped up – then lifted onto a plate drizzled with oil
sprinkled with herbs and salt from the ocean.
outside the day changed shape, a curling gust of wind came out of the south, dark clouds scurried over for a look and big fat drops plopped onto the garden.
soon the drumming of steady rain blocked out the good night calls of the birds,
the plants in the garden wavered under the pressure some kissing the ground.
the mother and the baby sat grinning,
fingers oily sharing the lentil stew,
each pleased with their busyness of the day.
this story originally written for flash fiction friday,
mNemosyne south coast women’s journal.