Friday, March 25, 2005

Silver

River of Prayers


Walking miles through ceaseless rain
Barren hills of fear and pain
Color fades and light goes out
Rain falls parched and seared with doubt
Memory fades, meanings spin
Pain is all that’s ever been
Never to again feel peace
No kind of hope, no release

In the bats wing of despair
Appears the tail end of a prayer
Silver in the blackness falls
Twists and glitters, silent calls
I saw it there, a slender spark
Leading up, out of the dark
In the silence, thin and hollowed
Silver sang, and I followed

Like a woven plait of stairs
The silver sang with many prayers
Linked to make a glistening light
Leading out of pain and night
Through the hours it carried me
Silver river to the sea
Borne upon it’s healing foam
The river brought me safely home


©Edwina Peterson Cross

Monday, March 14, 2005

An Old Site re vitalised made me think of History

This Sunday just passed the 13th March 05 I saw an advertisement for a garden that was open to viewing by the public "The ad said "Old wharehouse now a lush indoor garden & residence".
So I travelled to an old inner Melbourne suburb for a look.
The building was an old brick factory built in 1890.
In those days it was a metal spring making factory,springs for everything that needed springs.
Then after WW2 part of it became a saw-tooth factory and then a place where "Men's & Youth's trousers were made.
But all changed and in 1990 is became a distribution wharehouse for men's suits made overseas in Tawian,Phillipines etc.
And then........ in 1999 a couple Pandora and John bought it and converted it into their home.
Pandora a teacher of Media Studies
John a cabinet maker of mainly re/cycled timber furniture
So this was a home/business/factory
The front part of the factory is a large indoor garden with half the original tin roof exposed to the sky.A large fish pond of Red Comets filled with exotic plants has at its centre an enormous stainless steel fountain 5 pieces each 20ft long.This fountain is run from 2 enormous(7000litre) rain water tanks beside the building by an electronic system
The garden around the pond has hundreds of rainforest and various plants suited to this site.Many in beautiful pots and urns with plenty of lovely seating to rest on while taking in the atmosphere.A timber boardwalk surrouns the pond and garden
The rear of the factory has their wonderful office with old leather couches and the back is the workshop filled with all sorts of recycled timber & machinery.The showroom has many pices of fine furniture in Australian timbers such as Kauri Blackwood,Sassafras,Celery Pine,Tasmanian Ash etc.
Upstairs are the living quarters of the family and by adding old recycled windows they have a wonderful view of the surrounding district of North Fitzroy.
It was revealed when stripping back the brick rendered walls beautiful blue stone bricks adding another dimension and thinking of those workers who lifted these massive heavy pieces of natural stone brought down from a country town in the the 1890's.
Very little cracking appears in this old building and on the outside facade the names of the factory's history has been retained.

I loved seeing and experiencing the conversion of this old wharehouse and admire those people loving a past and bringing it into the future to meet their needs
In the suburb where I live ,which is much older than where Pandora and John live were many buildings, hundreds in fact that have been raised to the ground and replaced with ugly concrete apartments with no relevance to the past not even the facade has been preserved ....I cry and mourn for Port Melbourne for it has been so cruely levelled in the name of profit and perhaps a need for some to live close the city and the sea.....Some use an expression "We are having a Sea Change" but at what cost one might ask. History is but a word.

So my Sunday out was inspiring making me think that those who retain the past and are able use it as the present and the future are to be admired.

Lois (Muse of the Sea) Monday 14th March'05

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Going Topside

Dear Fellow Miners,

Time seems to move strangely and differently above and below ground doesn’t it? It seems that we have been in the mines forever in some ways and in other ways it seems that we have just arrived. It also seems sometimes that we don’t see each other very often as we come up and go down and move ore and work on plans and open new shafts.

I wanted to let you all know that I am going to be away from the mine for some time topside. In the real world I am going to be going into the hospital on Monday for some extensive surgery which will probably keep me away from my computer for quite some time. I will look forward to catching up and reading about everything that you have all discovered during my absence when I am able to return to the mines once again.

Blessings to you all until we meet again. ~

Winnie

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Special Place "In the Archives"Port Melbourne

Yesterday (Tue 8th Mar"05)I was working in our newly opened room, which is to store much of our archival material.
I had not connected it to being like a mine ,but in many ways it is, as it stores .....papers,books,photos,sketches, paintings,memorabilia,snapshots taken over a 100 years ago .It is a room of only the past.It is a place for one to mine for information.
The room has special temperature control and all is packed in special archival boxes and folders,carefully labelled.
Yesterday I labelled books dating back to to 1860's of council records .Our town was then called the "Borough of Sandridge"
Why the name "Sandridge" well it was because my town was all high sandunes at that time as was the whole of Port Phillip Bay's shores. As I read and put the details in these books onto a card to have them put onto computer discs I marvelled at the simplicity of those ,who were known as the Borough people
Constant work was found for residents shovelling the sand away from buildings,laying road metal ,lighting oil lamps,rowing settlers from the sailing ships out in the bay to the shore.There were many ships not able to tie up at the one and only Town Pier,so this was a worthwhile profession.
As I read the ink written faded minutes of the meetings I come across different ways of spelling ,one for instance is by-law spelt in those times as bye-law.
Married women carried the name of their husband like
Mrs Archibald Smith...not Mrs Heather Smith ,so be it.
I feel like I am on an adventure into the past ,a bit like archeologists in the desert,not knowing what I am going to find and then being so excited when I find something that leaves me in awe .
I find the name of many the same as mine but not knowing if they were a part of our family.I know that my descendants were not in trade,the judicary,the hiearchy but were boilermakers,wharf labourers,welders,chocolate dippers,fish factory workers, cart horse drivers,sewing workers,abbatoir workers etc.So their names do not make the council minute books.
So each Tuesday for 3 hours I will work in the mines of my ancestors documenting their history for those who wish perhaps to trace their roots or research a story of a life or the adventures of a family travelling across the sea from England,Scotland or Ireland..
I am indeed blessed to be able to work in the archives of the Port Melbourne Historical & Preservation Society.
My heart is full and a feeling of joy comes over me as I wander through a history I feel proud to be a part of.

So each Tuseday till the end of this year & on , I will be
a small but important part of a team effort that for each of us means so much....Lois (Muse of the Sea)
Port Melbourne Wed 9th March'05.
.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Ancient Egyptian Judgement
Alexandra Roman

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Bodie

A Tale of Bodie . . .

What is left when the gold’s played out?
When the vein of silver is gone?
Weathered boards and vacant floors
Packing up and moving on
Empty shafts on lonely hills
Sit silent in the sun
Hollow windows tell a tale
Of a town whose time is done

There are echos in barren places
Where shadow sounds are cast
Whispers down the mine shafts
Voices from the past . . .
They seek for something simple
Something we can give
They ask to have their stories told
That their truth might always live
Some speak through ruins left standing
And ask that their tales be known
Some reach through generations
And speak through blood and bone

I’m a weaver of words, a spinner of tales
This tale I’ll weave on a loom
That my brother has strung with the warping threads
All ready for story to bloom
His warp, my weft, we answer the call
That sings through our blood clean and clear
So I’ll tell you a tale of Bodie,
When Ed Loose came for Christmas one year . . .

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Thursday, March 03, 2005


This is my Grandmother Pastora, The Shepherdess.
Alexandra Roman

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Scent of Mnemosyne

I do not remember how many times I have been sitting in the dinning room for the same reasons. But still I wait for it like something new is going to happen and it does. Always new feelings surround her, a look of longing in her eyes sometimes of happiness, sometimes of sadness. It always depends on what’s on her hand. She comes from the living room walking fast with a black gift box on her hand. She has always kept them there. Nothing fancy for she is not that way. Simplicity is the word that describes her better. Loving is the word deserved to be said about her every time someone speaks of her.

In that box she keeps the memories of the family alive. The treasure of many decades kept in a fragile box that means so much to us as a family. She sat in the chair in front of me and removed the top box to reveal a world of photos, old a new, which have made their way to that enchanted place of memories. It looks like a sea of memories, of past events frozen in a moment cherish by those who lay they’re eyes on them. I have discovered for the first time drops from the stream of Mnemosyne.

But this time there was something different with her, the woman sitting in front of me. I love this woman dearly; she is the matriarch of the family, my grandmother. Her skin is as the color of sweet delicious chocolate and her heart is fool of feelings that are beyond words. She is not the same today and is not because of her age or her many illnesses but because of her scent. It is Mnemosyne’s sent, a sweet scent of water and lilys. She is within her today letting me know that my grandmother is one of her chosen ones. No wonder my grandma’s name is Pastora witch means The Shepherdess. She is the one to guard us, the one that protect us like she has always does. She might look fragile but she is not. Her name tells of her strength and courage. Her box of pictures tells her story, our story, my story, the story of my daughter.

Pastora took one of the pictures in her aged hands and smiled. It was one of her youth. It was black and white and she was sitting in the ledge of a window. She had a long white skirt and a black blouse. Her long black wavy hair was tossed on her left shoulder. She looked just like a model does when posing for the camera. If you look at her you can still see in her eyes that moment for she has, still, the same look in her deep black eyes.

Another picture she took after handing me hers. It was of my grandfather squatting with his back on a wall. My mother was at his right and my uncle on his left both little children looking straight at the camera. My grandfather was looking else where like his gaze was looking beyond that moment. In those days they lived in Old San Juan a beautiful small city filled with history, with cobblestones on the streets and barricaded by a wall build by the Spaniards. The same place my mother wishes to spend her last days remembering her childhood like the one in the picture.

They are so many memories of lost souls that have gone to their Creator and are mourned, of living souls that still struggle with everyday life, of souls that are happy and those souls that are lost in the meaning of life. It is so overwhelming to plunge oneself in a stream like this one full of so many feelings. I do not have the knowledge to swim but I feel like I was always thought how to flow in this stream since I was a child. For I have been in it since I can remember. Mnemosyne has thought me how to swim, how to survive in the sea of memories from which I have taken part and made my own. Yes, for if you visit my closet you will see a small brown shoe box. In it there is part of that sea, because I have been chosen to be the new Shepherdess. My name is Alexandra it means the Leader of Men. I am in training to become one of the keepers of memory in my family and I have started with a simple box and a digital CD prepared, for people like me, by the magical land called Kodak.

The world of memories is full of grace and feelings. It is a magical place that resides in the simple things guarded by a mortal and escaping from wrath of time.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Jake's Tale

I don't know if any of you ever notice an old guy hanging around the mines. His name's Jake and his story proves it's never easy unearthing memories that hide and demand to stay buried.



“Strange things happen underground; gold's buried deep and hard to spot in feeble lantern light. Still, miners are a persistent lot, full of wild hopes that one day we'll strike it rich and dance out of this black pit into the daylight. Never happened to anyone I knew; sure never happened to me.

“Did you know this mine's been worked before?

“It was abandoned after a cave-in. It wasn't a miner got trapped, though, it was his wife. We got to her after it was too late. Never figured out why she was down here in his spot. Her husband, Frank, was miles away buying fancy equipment when it happened. He disappeared after the funeral and nobody ever saw him again. The owners offered bonuses, but not one man took 'em up on it. In those days, a woman in the mines brought bad luck, everybody knew that. A dead woman in the mines, who had no reason to be down here? Nobody'd even talk about it.

“I found a wedding ring today; it was Mary’s.

“What's that? How much gold's in a wedding band? I should know, but I guess I'm too old to care. Oh, I still chip away at earth and stone until my muscles and bones ache and I can crawl through these passageways, with the best of them, just to dig in a space as cramped as a bear's winter den. But I don’t hope no more.

“It was in a metal box.

“I remember her. No man ever saw Mary could forget her. She came to town with Frank when they were just married. I knew half a dozen guys tried to make a play for her. Thought about it myself, but I wouldn't've stood a chance. Mary only had eyes for Frank. She used to wear these pretty little sundresses, and sorta trip around town in high heel shoes. Didn't see much of that here abouts.

“Found this letter, too, but I ain't gonna read it.

“The whole town felt bad for Frank. Everybody knows when gold fever hits there's nothing nobody can do, but folks talked. He stayed underground more'n any man I ever knew, worked double shifts, dug on Saturdays instead of taking his wife to a movie, hauled out on Sundays instead of sitting next to her in church. Saw him go down with a blanket once. Said he was close.

“It's addressed to Frank.

“The gossips had a field day. All the wives hated her, couldn't wait til she got fed up and left Frank, but she hung in for nearly a year. Always acted like a lady, too, never cried or carried on, but you could see the sadness in her face. Didn't help that she had no friends. Made you want to help her. I even talked to Frank once. Didn't do no good, though.

“Here, you take it.

“Folks stayed a bit after the mine closed and worked the hills near-by, but little by little they drifted away. I'm the only one never left. Used to come here sometimes, just sit and think about Mary, maybe bring her daisies from the valley, or wild violets from what's left of that forest east of here, the one we used for lumber.

“Please.

“Read it if you want. I'm going now. I don't think there's any harm my takin the ring, do you? Nobody left to remember her but me. I'll just put the roses over there by the box. Maybe you could bury it again with the letter. Nothin left for me here. Put the boards up when you go. Keep folks outta here, those timbers are old and rotten.”

I waited until he left before I read the letter. It was best he didn't see it. There were just two lines.

"This is all the gold we need. Come home, My Love. Mary."