Olive trees are like camels.

The power went off during the night and all the clocks have stopped, the ones that operate on mains power. There must have been a power surge, which is ironic given the fact that it’s New Years Eve.

Even during the holidays I like to know the time. I woke with a start to a blinking digital alarm that flashed 12.09 at me repeatedly and then went in search of the time. My wristwatch still works.

I had intended not to sleep too late in order to find space to write before my 10.30am appointment with the physiotherapist. Later today my husband and I also have our annual check up with the eye doctor.

My husband thinks he needs new glasses. He hopes he does because his lenses are scratched and he wants to justify replacing them. I think I’d be happy to keep my glasses as they are, but if I need new ones then I will go for it. I love to be able to see clearly.

A message just now on my mobile phone from my third daughter to let us know she is on her way home from Adelaide, or ‘Radelaide’ as she jokingly refers to the state next door to ours. She is leaving now.

I will worry subcutaneously all day long until I see her safe and sound at the end of the day. It is an eight-hour drive and she travels with her girl friend, the two of them share the driving. Long distance driving is always dangerous, but they made it there, as she messaged me two days ago, a good trip except for the locusts.

The locusts are out in plague proportions in various parts of the country because of the recent rains. The drought had kept them in check until now. It is terrifying for the farmers and can be dreadful for our crops.

I have finally begun work on my tax, another annual event, which I despise and next week I have my two yearly pap smear at the doctor’s. For me the Christmas holidays become a time for annual events, physical check ups, house cleaning and reconciling my accounts.

I put off these things until the end of the year and get straight into them the minute the last bauble is off the tree. I have already returned our Christmas decorations to their boxes till next year.

It is too early I know but the olive tree we keep in a pot and brought inside to decorate this year was beginning to look dry even though we watered it periodically during its confinement indoors.

To me olive trees are like camels, they go on and on without water, but I am not sure how a camel would fare indoors and I am sure olive trees need sunlight, not shadow twenty four hours a day.

My children are old enough now not to fuss too much when the last of the Christmas cheer disappears.

They are forward looking, the young. Already they are in New Years Eve mode. Not me and my husband.

We joked last night over dinner that it has been some ten years since we last went to a New Years Eve function and then at the millennium, and ten years again before that. When we were young we would not have been seen dead not going out for New Years Eve but these days we prefer to stay at home.

At midnight we will go out to the front of our house and stand in the middle of our street, which is normally busy with traffic, and look over the crest of the hill towards the city and the fireworks that go off in the distance.

Every New Years Eve our neighbours, a widow and her thirty five year old daughter who stays at home because she has chronic fatigue syndrome, come out onto the street and we greet one another, hugs all round for the New Year and we watch the fireworks and ooh and aah at their splendour until the last light fades over the horizon.

Then we retreat indoors again and start the climb into the next year, which is an odd number this year, 2011 and as I have said elsewhere, I do not like odd numbers. The year 2009 was a poxy one for me. I hope 2011 fares better.

I have been struck once more by the artificial highs and lows that erupt inside of me during my time in the blogosphere, the degree to which I can feel so captivated by events in the lives of my fellow bloggers that I am brought to tears in some instances or alternatively driven to states of annoyance or great laughter elsewhere.

The Internet is such a powerful medium for drawing us in. No wonder some people lose themselves in it. I imagine that the experience in blogdom is one step away from the experience that some people enjoy within second Life.

I had tried to go there once – for research purposes, I reasoned – but something scared me off, something of the virtual and limitless sense of space and ‘freedom’ it seemed to offer. I felt a bit like a potential addict walking into a gambling casino, terrified at the thought that I would soon become hooked and then I would no longer have time for anything.

I have my blogging tendencies under control by and large but any further forays into alternative realities and I fear I might never come out into the light again. I would be like our Christmas olive tree trapped indoors forever more. And that would be the end of me, I fear.

I would dry out and lose my leaves, my branches would crumble and I would become a wandering waif lost forevermore in the ethereal life that is the Internet.

Pardon the mixed metaphor. Trees do not wander.

63 thoughts on “Olive trees are like camels.”

  1. elisabeth – so many currents pulling back and forth in and out across the road and back and then inside out, i can see i can't see. it's a wonder of your marianas like depths that you can gather them all into one little pixillated space and send them dancing out around the rest of this world to continue on their paths. steven

  2. I am just marvelling at the fact that you seem to be in the future, New Year's 'eve being a day away in Canada. Do you have any idea what might happen with my current drama? I laugh. None of us do. But these holidays, these times, time – carries us.

    May your daughter make it home safely. May we all stay connected for a little longer.

    Happy New Year, Elizabeth.


  3. Ah yes- the strangeness of space and time. Here it is three hours away from New Year's Eve.
    Well, enjoy. And I am glad that you do come and visit me and I wish I could see a picture of your olive tree.
    Happy New Years, dear Elisabeth. I wish you much joy and no poxiness in 2011.

  4. I have to keep reminding myself that there are bloggers (like you!) who are ahead of us in Ca for dates. We are still Dec. 30 and to to see your date of the 31st through me for a moment.

    Yes isn't it reassuring when we know where are children are? No matter the age I think I shall always draw comfort when I hear there voice on the phone or a quick email. The long driving or just bad weather can either make me just not want to go there with it all or I am mentally thinking "where are they now".

    An olive Christmas tree? I do like to hear what others do….yes, I do need to put all our holiday decorations away. I shall enlist my Love and son for the help.

    Happy New Years to you!

  5. The celebration, the thoughts expressed are similar to what goes on here in our life, this time of the year. Even the blogging slows down a bit as life gets in the way. I do hope you enjoy a happy New Year in your real life.

  6. Happy New Year you silly sausage. I never do housework, except the dogs stacked on a blue the other day sending their water bowl flying and I had to mop the kitchen floor. Look over to the west at midnight, south-west of the Yarra, there'll be $2000 going up and about thirty shotgun cartridges. Don't tell Hubby.

  7. Don't you know its bad luck to take down your Christmas decorations before the New Year.
    If you don't want scratches on your glasses lens have them chemical hardened like i do, costs a bit extra but its worth it. Dosen't work if you have plastic lens.

  8. Just remember the numbers in 2011 add up to 4, and that should cheer you up. Happy New Year, I hope it will be a good one for you, family, and friends. And that your leg continues to grow stronger.
    I hope to survive the stresses of my life and to hang on to my sanity, good will and sense of humour. And also to retrieve my ability to do things instead of sitting around in a semi-paralysed manner. Reading blogs helps me in this endeavour, and your is always so thought-provoking and full of unusual insights and reflections. You give others so much of yourself.

  9. I'm not ever worried about getting lost in the internet forest. For me it's sort of like an old-fashioned correspondence — the nineteenth and even twentieth century kind where letters were crafted and exchanged between like-minded souls sometimes without any face to face contact.

    I certainly have loved meeting you on these byways and look forward to reading more of your posts. Happy New Year to you!

  10. We keep our tree up as long as possible in fact it used to go up right after Thanksgiving which was when Carrie used to put up hers when she was in the States. Her mother with a superabundance of rooms now her kids have flown the coop keeps a tree up all year long in what has come to be known as the ‘Christmas Room’. My daughter never even put up a tree this year – too busy she said and I half-believe her besides she has so many relatives to touch base with (she never has less than three Christmas dinners) that I quite understand. If Carrie were not here I wouldn’t bother probably.

    I’m a lot like you when it comes to my online life; it’s about as packed as I can stand. I’ve never checked out the Second Life site. I did get quite hooked to The Sims when it first came out and played it non-stop for several weeks straight but I’ve never looked at it since. I spent more time designing houses than playing the game to be honest; that was where the fun lay for me.

    Today will be like any other day for us. It has been so many years since I went out on New Year’s Eve that I can’t remember when. We have always stayed up for ‘the bells’ – that’s how we refer to it here – but I never take a drink and it’s too blinkin’ cold to go outside. We’ll watch Jools Holland’s Hootenanny which is becoming established as an annual event – it’s a decent show and far better than the shows we watched when I was a kid which were basically televised cèilidhs. Awful, they really were.

    Anyway I wish you a happy New Year and maybe 2011 won’t be that bad. Hell, who am I kidding?

  11. My daughter made it home safely, Erin. My car, which I had urged her to use rather than her own older model is now covered in dead locusts, a sight to behold, but she is safe and well and has just left for tonight's New Years Eve party. We here are on your future and you are in our past. Somewhere along the way we meet. How lovely.

    Happy New Year, Erin.

  12. As you say no more poxiness for 2011, Ms Moon.

    If I were a different person I'd have taken a photo of said olive tree and loaded it onto my blog, but not so.

    Here you must rely on words alone. Thanks Ms moon, and once again I wish you a Happy new Year.

  13. Like others here Ellen, you are taken by the time difference and the olive tree. Worrying about children on the other hand is a universal.

    Happy New Year Ellen and thanks.

  14. Has the blogging slowed down, Anthony? Perhaps a little for some, but for me with holidays it seems to have hotted up.

    Happy New Year, Anthony, and may you and I enjoy many more shared blogosphere years to come.

  15. I find the term 'silly sausage' endearing RH, it makes me feel much younger than I am.

    As for those fireworks, I will look in that direction in only a couple of hours time and think of you.

    Happy New Year, Robert.

  16. I didn't know it was bad luck to take down the Christmas decorations too soon, Windsmoke but it doesn't surprise me.

    I'm not superstitious by and large and I've been taking down my decorations early like this for years, so 'touch wood' I should be okay.

    As for the scratches in my husband's glasses' lens, if you saw the way he treats them, I suspect no amount of protection on the glass will suffice to protect them from scratches. Still I'll tell him about these other possibilities as you recommend.

    Thanks and happy New Year Windsmoke.

  17. I hadn't done those sums, Persiflage. It is a comfort. I hope that you too can find some comfort in the new year given the massive stresses in your life.

    Happy New Year and thanks for all your good wishes.

  18. I am a fierce letter writer and I agree our correspondence can sometimes have that old world ring, Elizabeth.

    It is fun to meet one another along the way, fun educational and also of great comfort in our struggle against life's woes. How's that for an old fashioned expression.

    Happy New Year again, Elizabeth. May 2011 only get better.

  19. This will have to be my last blog response for this evening, Jim. It's nearly midnight and unlike you I've already had more than one celebratory drink.

    I have to last till midnight to see the fireworks and I also plan to watch a DVD for a spell.

    All my children are out to their various New Years Eve events and only my husband and I remain in the house to usher in the new year.

    I'll be glad when tomorrow comes.

    A number of people tonight have remarked on how anti-climactic the New Years Eve celebrations can be. Almost worse than Christmas.

    Still I hope you enjoy yours, Jim. We'll talk again next year.

  20. What an intriguing pleasure it is to know you through your words here on your blog.

    I love the way you've wrapped up your year.

    I'm struggling to contain the blogginess of my various, virtual ventilated verbosity.


  21. I was amazed at my sister's in Chicago this week, for she had brought a cherry tomato indoors in September, and it is still blooming and producing fruit in her kitchen.

    I do enjoy the colors of your writing. A very Happy New Year to you and yours. I'm glad you're here in blogland!

  22. Trees do not wander.

    Unless you count the mangrove patch that breaks loose and drifts out to sea, perhaps lucky enough to anchor on a virgin shore and start a new mangrove forest.

  23. I hope it didn't sound like too much of a wrap up here, Kass.

    There's no real way of abbreviating a year.

    My mother in her autobiography has a habit of ending her chapters with words such as 'and that was that'.

    It drives me spare. I much refer things to be left open ended, except in those wonderful BBC dramas from Jane Austen's day when I want everyone to have a happy ending.

    Thanks, Kass.

  24. I'm partial to mangroves Glenn, though not to walk through.

    The mud in which the mangroves take root here have a strange way of oozing between your toes.

    Thanks, Glenn.

  25. Dear Elisabeth,
    I hope you had a wonderful New Years celebration and that despite 2011 being an odd number, today's date and its synchronicity will at least have a symbolic meaning of something good.
    Happy New Year to you and yours,

  26. Wishing you a beautiful and fortunate 2011 (odd numbered or not), Elisabeth. Be careful that you don't overwater the olive trees. I have a special place in my heart for olive trees, which I hope will be reflected on the blog in the not too distant future. My wife's ancestors on both her mother and father's side worked olive groves for as many generations as anyone in the family can recall. And yes, they do need much sunlight. I imagine they fare as well indoors as camels would. So, when the Magi arrive on their camels on January 6th, it will be the perfect occasion for you to untether and release your housebound camels and olive tree. 😉

  27. I am always happy when the Christmas and New Year's festivities are over, and I can get back to my routine. There is something unsettling about all the merry-making. So I agree, New Year's Eve is celebrated quietly for me. Sleeping. *heh*

    Happy New Year to you and your family…!


  28. Thank you for the New Year's greetings, Zuzana. Let's hope it's good for us all round,though I'm sure it will be as it will be. Still it's good to keep our hopes alive.

  29. I will not over-water the olive trees, Lorenzo. I know they need only a small amount to survive. Oh that the rest of us could survive on so little.

    Thanks for your good wishes.

  30. There is so much hype associated with this seasonal period, Jo. It's no surprise that many of us are relieved when it's over, and when, as you say, we can get back to our usual routines.

    Thanks for the good wishes and Happy New Year to you.

  31. Happy New Year Elisabeth! I wish you happiness and health!
    I had two young couples from Poland. They were all students, but one. all week we went to church with the guests from Taizé to attend a service at 8.30 then we had a meeting in smaller groups and we discussed several subjects like: trust, joy, compassion, forgiving…Then we had coffee and after that the guests went to Rotterdam to meet the other young people.There were 30,000 young people from various countries in Europe. They had lunch in Rotterdam and a hot meal and came back at 9 pm.They left on New Year's Day. We were all sad about to say goodbye..
    This afternoon I will meet two Greek bloggers with their families.They will come here at 4 pm. Great, I am looking forward to meeting them!

  32. Happy new year! I understand about needing to catch up on chores, I have to sort out my taxes by the end of January. Unfortunately there's only so much that's possible when the banks are shut for the holidays.

  33. How wonderful for us all, Reader Wil, to live in such cosmopolitan times. It must be exciting and perhaps a little daunting to meet fellow bloggers in person. I hope it goes well.

    Thanks for the new year greetings.

  34. You worry subcutaneously, River, under your skin.

    You know the feeling, like an itch, or a prickle that sets your hairs on end. It's there all the time, as pervasive as sluggish blood through your veins.

    Thanks for asking, River.

    Happy New Year. Soon I shall stop offering that 'tired' greeting. We're almost too far in now to consider it a beginning.

  35. Interesting that you mention the allure of Second Life.. I became addicted to it, then left it cold turkey. Now, I am back. I don't know what compels me to return there.. perhaps it is indeed the opportunity to have a "Second" Life.

  36. I've just had two weeks away from blogdom and was surprised at how little I missed it.

    Now that I'm back home (we did the same trip as your daughter did – locusts and all) and was supposed to be in here getting out the box to pack up the Christmas decorations – somehow the computer switched on and I'm hooked all over again.

    However, unlike you, I'm happier with odd numbers and am more than glad to wave goodbye to 2010.

  37. But indeed trees do wander! – if I remember that old Johnie Walker advert correctly. Best of luck with your olive tree. Anyway, thank you for your visit to my blog. I am wondering though who Maggie May is and how you landed up on fra(a)ing? Not that I mind though; my door is open, the more the merrier, and so forth. BTW, I tried Second Life about three years ago, for an embarrassing four visits. One's avatar is created naked, as indeed we are born in this life too. I could just not work out how to get hold of some clothes. Eventually some kind soul, who I believe volunteers for the task of showing newcomers around, took pity and pointed the way. But after the third visit I was as far as having my underwear on top of my outers and someone laughed at me and I am afraid that was it. I do not like to be mocked. Not even in an alternative world.

  38. Trees do not wander. How do you know?

    I wonder when I will have the time to pack up my Christmas tree things… It's an artificial tree, so I tend to think of it as a Christmas decoration, but it gives me peace at night. the lights. Glass icicles. Over a hundred ornaments, all of which were gifts from loved ones, or bits from the trees of a family now long gone, all the way back to two ornaments from around 1910.

    But I think trees may wander when we don't watch them. You just never know.

    I love the image of worrying subcutaneously, and your entry just made me smile all the way through. I left the blogosphere for a bit because my moroseness bored me nearly to death!

    It's been wonderful to read OTHER people's thoughts again. Happiest of New Years to you, odd numbered notwithstanding.

  39. Thanks, Robert. You're the first person I've actually 'known' who visits Second Life. What's it like? I wonder.

    I couldn't get into it easily and once across the threshold I started to feel so creeped, I ran away.

  40. I've been away, too, Kath, but only to the beach for a couple of days.

    It's funny how a couple of nights in a different bed can make you feel like you've been away forever.

    I'm not surprised you're glad to see the last of 2010. Let's hope that 2011 is heaps better. As for blogging, it's one of those things. Out of sight might be out of mind, but once in view it's terribly addictive. It's one of the things I most look forward to the minute I get home.

    Thanks, Kath.

  41. You've answered my question of Robert, Anairam – what's it like in Second Life?

    From what you say, I'm glad I did not venture beyond the threhold.

    I find reality disturbing enough at times. To emulate the frailty of infancy with all its vulnerability, puts me off. Though I understand Second Life can be as addictive as blogging.

    Maggie May comes from Flux Capacitator. I thought you were following her, Anairam. At least I thought I had first encountered you there, but if I was wrong, my apologies.

    In any case, Maggie May's blog is one that is well worth a visit. She's a fantastic writer, with quite a story to tell.

    Thanks, Anairam.

  42. Jeanette, I'm sorry to hear about your departure from blogdom, but it's good to see you still visit.

    Artificial trees are moved, rather than move, but I'm happy to go along with the notion that trees wander unseen. It's part of Tolkien's story in the 'Lord of the Rings', as I recall.

    Happy New Year, Jeanette. Please enjoy the blogosphere and dismiss those thoughts about being too morose. I don't remember you that way.

  43. Elisabeth, For me, the bonds forged, blogger to blogger, exist because people are willing to be real, to speak what is their truth, and the wonder of it is that it resonates with others. I have not explored Second Life and know I have prejudice and probably misconceptions about it, thinking "what's the point?" Once in a while I will roam freely among blogs but usually have a finite number that I read…there are too few hours in a day.

    The first day we were internet connected, perhaps 12 years ago, I went to ebay and looked at Bakelite buttons and knew I could never do that again. There is a saying in 12-step programs, If you don't want to slip, stay out of slippery places.

  44. E., As always you capture your perspective so perfectly I feel I'm there with you and we're old friends. Pretty sweet accomplishment for any writer, but I think blogs sometimes achieve it better than many other forms (or forums). Thanks and may 2011 be healthy and happy for all.

  45. 'If you don't want to slip, stay out of slippery places.' This is a terrific sentence, Marylinn. Thanks for introducing me to it.

    Thanks, too, for your thoughts about life on the Internet generally. Like you, I find it addictive and so I try to avoid getting entrapped as well.

  46. Once again I'm pleased that my perspective resonates for you, Michael.

    Clearly we come from different worlds, we bloggers, and yet as you say blogs have a way of encompassing our connectedness better than many other forms.

    Perhaps it's the mutual nature of the process. Most bloggers read other people's blogs.

    We share in the sensitivities of reading and being read online.

    Writers whose work is published in hard copy are often at one remove from their readers. In this sense there's perhaps more of a connection between bloggers. I don't know. This is just a hunch.

    Thanks, Michael.

  47. Not metaphorically and not literally; the forest doesn't move on its own. But it does move (in a shyster way), which is something you have to watch out for. Read the small print.

  48. I should think that scratched lenses would be justification for new glasses regardless of the prescription. Perhaps, your husband is a frugal man.

    Dry out and lose your leaves? Do you know of the Millay poem entitled, "Sonnet XLIII"?

    "What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
    I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
    Under my head till morning; but the rain
    Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
    Upon the glass and listen for reply,
    And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
    For unremembered lads that not again
    Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
    Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
    Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
    Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
    I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
    I only know that summer sang in me
    A little while, that in me sings no more."

  49. I'll try to dry out, if by the term you mean, to chill, Snow.

    My husband is not a particularly frugal man. He's generous with others and sometimes even with himself but he hates wastage, as do I.

    Thanks, Snow. I've left a long comment in response to a comment just now on your blog. I hope it makes sense.

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