We had to search a bit for a place to stay when the rain stopped us hard. We were a good hour from Lakes Entrance where there'd be shops and hotels. Orbost was a tiny town with barely a supermarket open. We bought instant noodles and a can of soup, dancing to stay warm in the freezing aisles. The little motel we found didn't have microwaves, and the newly installed free wi-fi (a real rarity in Australia) must have been weakened by the rain. We couldn't pick it up at all.
It absolutely poured down all night. I dreamt strong and realistic of driving out the next morning and getting caught in a nearby town by flooded streets. In my dream a local family took us in and we became embroiled (and indebted) in a day of their lives. They owned a small store that sold stockings and hosiery.
This morning was not sunny, but it had stopped raining. Also, I finished a poem that I had started back in June (in my tiny little apartment in the city, with Chloe, the gorgeous Garfield cat).
One Attitude to Have
(started June 3, 2011 - finished December 13, 2011)
Another cockroach scuttles across the tiles and
the cat's sprawled lolling on her back - legs flung out
in two directions. I send her a look. Just now, though
she watched the thing for a whole long minute
even took two slow steps toward it, as if hunting,
before stopping, turning, meowing back at me like,
Now what do I do? the question we all ask, sooner
or later in a cold brick and cement apartment when
it's just us, the spiders, and a few fifteen watt bulbs.
Replace the light bulbs. Scrub hard at the dirty floors
when it's day, and bright. Spray the hell out of the corners
at night sit, knees drawn, in the center of the bed.
Learn to ignore dark corners and jump less often. Let them
crawl on certain walls. Then, remove a slipper from one foot
and cooly smash the ones that come too close. Or
Vow to do no harm. Like another American teacher
friends once whispered, his house was full of bugs. They
were horrified because he refused to kill the spiders. Though
he was no Buddhist. Teacher Li tells us the rat running
up along the shelves in her tea shop usually appears
about this time in the afternoon and once in the morning.
She pours wine-colored tea into our tiny, rounded glass
cups. We watch, wait, drink, listen,
hoping to learn something of her grace.