I wake up bad. My balance is off. My shoulder hits the doorframe on the way. My eyes are red.

The wind is pounding against the weatherboards like an ocean. The cracks and gaps in our old house whistle.

I walk on tiptoes to be quiet while little cool inflows tickle my feet. The boys are still asleep. One is still and silent, the other snorting like an angry walrus, but both are peaceful.

Silence outside. Why am I awake? What woke me?

I hear the trees a mile away rustling, scraping and banging. The unseen rushing closer. The house groans.

I look up at the ceiling expecting it to peel away dramatically. There’s creaks and pops in the structure I haven’t heard before. Then the gusts move on south and I settle.

I edge the central heating up a little and wander into the kitchen for a glass of water.

I used to attach emotional or spiritual significance to waking up at night. I’d try and remember and analyse my dreams. Now? It’s just business as usual.

Next week I may get a few nights run of a full night’s sleep. But it won’t last.

One morning soon I’ll wake up and the government will have changed.

Bla bla bla (Pablo Fernández via Flickr)

One side still reeling from the original sin three years ago of boning their own leader, and then having to repeat the dysfunction to undo the job. Didn’t they realise that it’s our job to vote a leader out! Here… let me show you how it works…

The other side competently sitting on their hands, carefully hedging and clipping their words, knowing that everything can be rebooted once they’re in.

Ugh. It’s all too much.

I imagine on that future morning I’ll stumble and fumble around in the early morning light thinking wow the country has changed hands. That’s kind of a big deal. Shouldn’t I care?

Maybe after one, two of three coffees.

I suspect that the winners will still have to deal with boat people and a deficit. There will be competent management, we will send troops if asked to Syria, some kind of broadband network will be built and Chinese influence will continue to grow.

Aboriginal life expectancy won’t change, small-minded white chauvinist bigots will still have a platform, footballers will still fuck up, many people who want to work will be dependent on welfare, the Rineharts, Palmers, Murdochs and Packers will push their agendas through back doors, nobody will get punished – ever – for the Iraq War, the AWB scandal, Siev-X, participating in NSA surveillance, trying to bring down our government, and abandoning whistle-blowers. Pokies – designed to dishonestly manipulate and extract money from weak-minded people – will continue to kill. And the country will continue its fucking obsession with building highways and fuck-ugly apartment towers.

All these things, like a full nights sleep, will fade from memory.

Lack of sleep can make you grumpy.

If only the cricket was still on…


Measurement (Maessive via Flickr)

Back to the start.

A room full of doctors, midwives and specialists. My wife and I. Noise. Rushing. Crying. Blood.

There they are. Twin sons crying at the shock of suddenly being.

We have agreed on their names but not which one is which, so I make a decision and name them. A nurse almost labels them the “wrong” way. I correct her. But I was stressed and in a dumbfounded, new-dad state, so maybe I mixed them up.

They are James and William.

Everyone in that hospital room that day, everyone who visited and everyone who later stopped my wife at the shops to ask dumb twin questions, would already have known several James and Williams. They probably thought, “Does he look like a James? Does he look like a William?” as if this is not a completely insane question. They might notice we shorten William to Wil with one ‘l’ and that reminds them of Wil Anderson the comedian rather than Will Ferrell the comedian.

I notice I do this myself to help remember people’s names. Some people just look like a Steven, Jess or Arthur. But once – when they were zero days old – they just looked like a newborn.

From the very first day you are born you are tagged (literally and figuratively) by people having expectations. You have the beginning of a past and history. You have joined the world of named things. The world of this and that. The world of form.

The twins are identical so we later used – hopefully subtle – colour-coding to help people tell them apart. Initially James wore mainly blue and Wil green, but then we switched and James became more earthly colours like red and brown and Wil blue and green. It’s persisted in the colour of the frames of their glasses. Colour of course carries emotional content. So this small decision changed people’s perception of them.

People also look at my wife and I and make judgements about what James and Wil are like based on what we are like

This sort of “expectation” analysis will drive you mad if you continue. It’s not a bad state of affairs. It is just the nature of the world we live in.

From the day they are born kids start looking for and learning evidence of who they are. The evidence enforces who they think they are, their strengths and limitations. They file away their successes and failures based on how other people react to and perceive them. Do they then eventually become the expectation that is reflected back at them?

This structure of habit and memory ossifies and builds up like coral. Fixes and hardens. Eventually the structure will become so monolithic that it is difficult to experience who they were in those early days when they had little or no identity. They will have become completely identified with the named world. Living in and being part of it. Filed, tagged, labelled and closed away. They will believe, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.

But. That brief moment when they took their first breath. No history. No labels. No expectations from, or of, them. Just being.

No expectations or limitations. Mind and body open to all experiences and possibilities.

To be able to re-capture that feeling.


James wants our next holiday to be on the moon.

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