Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Sparks will fly #35 #Spring

Been pouring all night, so appropriate for waters breaking to birth the new season of spring. Like so many new beginnings, first there is the heaviness of pregnancy, then the waters break before something formed but not quite fully operational, arrives. This is the season of buds forming, then opening, the seeds who have been busy gathering up their energy in dark places push through and poke their green heads up. This is the season where possibilities emerge and what looked like it might have been dead or at least in a deep Sleeping Beauty kind of sleep, opens and transforms.

I am constantly impressed by how seeds quietly go about storing up their energy and  push and push and push, until there is a crack in the brown ceiling they hit them selves against, and keep striving towards the light, but that comes after the dark and often shitty, dank place they are in and at the other end they build a system of roots that do deeper and hold themselves in place. This two way stretching and striving for nutrition and life is a constant reminder to me of what is needed to get by in the world. The human condition is fraught with times we are in the dark, know leaning into the light will help us unfold, and that we have to go deep to draw on what gets left behind in the soil. All those micro-organisms, humus, worms are there to help us reach for the stars.

Sparks of life, new ideas, possibilities and invitations start turning up to announce that hibernation has come to an end. I wonder what I have unknowingly been hibernating that might burst through some of what has been hiding under ground?  Within two weeks I will have packed up all I have left to make a home, packed a bag to hit the road, said goodbye to a village that has held me for the past fifteen years and closed a lot of chapters. I will wander away quietly with no ceremony, not quite a disappearance as I am sure to find my way to being close by on my return, but I will be without a permanent address for the first time in my life. This new season in my life comes from heavy clouds, plenty of precipitation and fodder churned into the earth from scraps, shit and disease, breaking down and turning into fuel.

Spring following winter is reassuring, even on day like today Father’s Day in Australia, where I miss my Dad. He  always had hope even well into his dying days. He was a man who opened himself up to new possibilities from ideas, words, food and was never short of advising on what might need to be transformed or changed to bring new life to a situation (he continued to write to the coaches of his football team even in his last days).  He died in spring and this year I will be on the other side of the planet when it will be his anniversary and birthday. We buried him on his birthday and when we talked about dying, he told me he wanted to be buried so the earth and all its creatures would take their time with him.  These words have held me in good stead during the winter seasons past and this one in particular. The title of a book he wrote, Help Yourself to Happiness, I am taking as a clear message from him to enter this season.

Letting nature take its course and being reminded to lean into what the winds, rains and Gaia herself wants to teach me and invite me into a practice. With the practice comes the discipline and truth that winter is followed by spring.

As we wake up and enter the spring, coming into what was in the dark, beneath the surface, where there are expectations for sparks to fly, I turn to David Whyte’s poem What to Remember When Waking, to hold me as the new season arrives.

What to Remember When Waking


In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?

— David Whyte


Dad wrote this book and it was published by Lothian in 1999. Nothing says spring like a daisy.

Promise to tomorrow 34 #Dad

It is Father’s Day and likely to be last one for the man who joined with me to bring life into this world. His fathering going beyond biology to a deeper place where what it means to be human is at the centre of parenting, not solely the genetic code exchanged, incubated and grown. The cellular level of life is magical and mystical and when mixed with all the environmental variables brings plenty of challenges – as all parents know. There is a numbness when the realisation arrives you are not in control of what genes, what influences, what decisions are made and your parenting is improvisation because every opportunity arrives in its own unique packaging. Being a Dad is not the same as being a father and there is a wonderful scene from MASH about that worth watching.

Charles: “I always assumed that that’s how it was in every family. But when I see the warmth, closeness, the fun of your relationship… My father’s a good man. He always wanted what was best for me. But where I have a father, you have a dad.”Sons and Bowlers Originally Broadcast: Monday, March 22nd, 1982 Written by Elias Davis & David Pollock Directed by Hy Averback

With all the hyperbole about same-sex marriage couples it’s worth calling out that being a Dad goes beyond supplying half the chromosomes. My Dad loved his footy, his books, thinking, education, food, wine, family. I didn’t notice him fathering other people, but I did notice him fathering me and my brothers. And even though he has been dead for a decade now, I still notice him fathering me. I often consider on what advice or reflect on what he might bring to my decision-making.

To become a father is not to arrive at a station called Dad and to stay there on the platform – you need to get on that train.

Fathering unfolds

Cuddles and coos

Sleepless nights

to more sleepless nights.

Being held

Holding being

Transits and eclipses

Dates and decisions.

Destiny: Dad

As the man who became the Dad of our children reaches the ends of his days I know they will have his wisdom to draw on forever. They will have their first hand experience of their own relationship with him, the knowledge gained through observation of watching him with others, fecund imagination to draw on from his energy and spirit – a gentle soul, firmly grounded in his relationship to his Abba. He often talks about that – a ‘Daddy’ as opposed to a stern masculine Zeus like god; his relationship is deeply personal with deep roots. It is a relationship made for two only – no third party can penetrate – it’s just the two of them. And so it is with each of his children – just the two of them in these intimate spaces.

At each of the baptisms we sang Bob Dylan’s Forever Young as a blessing for them and it was in the spirit of wanting them to stay like children – open to wonder and surprises; willing to take risks when it seemed right to do so, to build, climb from a strong and firm place in their lives. Good fathering has enabled each of them to grow into their potentialities, examine truths, speak their truth to power and rest in the confident knowledge they are loved. This doesn’t come easily for any parent and for a father who might have wanted a first XI cricketer and got someone with an aversion to sport … these are trivial and unimportant for the harvest is abundant. Destined to be a Dad, he is joyful, glowing, still singing his song, and his voice will be a blessed earworm for all of their days.

My promise to tomorrow is to call out the difference between being a father and being a Dad.

“Forever Young” by Bob Dylan

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.