The scent of hyacinth from the windowsill draws down into the pit of my belly and the core of my drained brain begins to lift to wake my senses. I’m standing by my eye into the soul of life and want to trap the scent of the flowers that trails out through a small opening.
It’s through this eye that I glimpse life outside and those playing in its party.
As I dip in and out of soapy suds that dull with the immersion of each food-covered utensil, I watch young children scuttling up the ladder to the tree house. Some afternoons, the rhythmic thump of a tennis ball being hit on the outside brick face comforts me as I fry onions for the base of our favourite bolognaise dinner.
Today, my gaze follows the trailing scent out to the laughter of the three boys collecting washing from the clothesline. There’s boy one wearing boy three’s Karate gi. The sleeves barely reach his elbows as he spins around in chops over the head of boy three, who uses all his Karate blocking moves in confident practice.
‘He’ll get you one day,’ I call to boy one through the opening, laughing along with them.
And there’s boy two smashing a ball with a cricket bat for blue-eyed dog to fetch. She charges with such passion that sometimes she crashes into the steel leg of the trampoline or hits the edge of the trailer. One time, she slipped as she took off after a ball, over the freshly oiled deck. She didn’t whine in pain until hours later when she tried cuddling up to sleep in the corner of the lounge room.
My eye into the soul of life is special and I love to stand by it and watch the two dogs break into the chook pen to steel food scraps. And later when the chooks are having a backyard wander, I giggle at them waddling for their pay back to scratch at the dog food and the dogs moving away while barking, to allow them at it. Such softies!
I listen to the coo of the doves at dusk while exploring the grass and the singing of the wattlebirds as they perch in the bottlebrush bush, happy to sip the nectar of the flower.
My eye has been my saviour at times too. When the boys were younger, I could watch over them while they played beneath the tree house in the sand pit and I prepared cool drinks or snacks of crackers and fruit inside.
I’ve glanced out through my eye into that soul outside for the past sixteen years, to watch play that only children understand and listen to the code of bonding men. Some evenings, aromas of garlic lamb and capsicums barbequing would bombard me and make me salivate. And octaves of muffled chatter and the laughter of many on the deck would overflow into my eye and suddenly the delineation between inside and out did not exist as bodies helping me do and serve appeared by me.
Mostly, I’m invisible to the outside of my eye and sometimes, private talks reveal things that need to remain outside. I’m always careful not to abuse my privilege, which makes my eye all that more special.
Now with the washing and boys inside, I watch the cricket bat rest against the deck and I know there will come a time when those boys will most likely bring someone special home and I will need to retreat to the back stalls of my eye. I know too however, that my eye into the soul of life will always be my special eye.