The run up to the end of the financial year is always busy for people like me. I am booked solid until the end of June. I come home to swap suitcases. I’ve had to transfer all my indoor plants to the patio where the gardener can water them in my absence. Nothing upsets me more in the home than to see a plant wilt from lack of water. In my world, it is an egregious act of neglect. Perhaps this strong emotion stems from my cultural values, when someone visits your home, offer them the best hospitality.
As a child I can remember my aunt’s university friend who visited India. She would walk around the field behind our home and take photographs of the nomads and cattle. Beyond a rocky ridge was more housing but it was in the distance and even though my best friend lived there, I was not allowed to walk there on my own. At dusk we could not find our American friend. My parents and aunt grew increasingly anxious. People spread out in different directions looking for her. The ridge was dangerous. It was regularly blasted for building purposes and left behind deep pools after monsoon rains. I recall a neighbour drowning in one of the pools, after she slipped washing her feet. Then word came someone had found our visitor. We went to where she was. She was seated on the ground, coughing from dung fire, enjoying a cup of sweet tea and a piece of dry roti with her delighted hosts. She refused to leave until she had enjoyed her moment with that family. The joy in the interaction between this woman and the family is a moment that stays with me. They did not have much, but they gave generously.
I had a pretty packed day yesterday and found it difficult to sleep in. I woke to a beautiful morning in Bunbury and watched sunrise from my hotel balcony.
I had an hour long drive into forest areas so I just stayed where I was, watching the ocean The waves were fearsome and I could hear them crash from where I was. Soon it was time to shift gears and head into timber country.
I have driven through this tiny town many times. I love buying fruit and vegetables here. All locally produced and have watched staff rinse off the dirt from freshly picked vegetables before placing it on the shelf. It’s that fresh! This was the car park of the place I visited. The local school has just 25 children who attend kindy to the year before high school. Charming is too sophisticated a word for it! I fell in love with the place instantly!
I then had an appointment with the mother. She told me she’s “just down the road” out of town. It was a long few kms of unsealed road! I thought I was in an enchanted forest. The drive got darker and darker with towering trees on either side. I was so relieved to spot her standing at the end of a long driveway. My car skidded and crunched it’s way to the homestead. She had sent me a text earlier in the day saying it was Tuesday, nothing would be open in town so she had made lunch for me. She offered me lunch including fresh fruit from her orchard. We talked for hours. Her parting words of thanks is something that will stay with me. I remembered my mother’s constant mantra, “give like you have plenty to share”. This, too, is hospitality.
As I drove away I had another 3.5 hours drive before I got home. A very long day but I felt energised. I had lived a day that reflects one of my favourite proverbs, German I believe it is, “When one helps another, both are stronger”.
I’m headed out again … more later.
Until next time
a dawn bird
In response to Word of the Day Challenge: Hospitality