by Kim Kelly

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LOVE IS LIGHT

It seems just about everyone I know, including myself, has trudged their way through this winter, knee-deep in uncertainty.

The world is nuts. Australian politics is most certainly nuts – if it wasn’t so serious it’d be funny. Everywhere we turn there’s shouty angst blaring at us from a thousand unhappy voices.

As those who know me know, I don’t believe much in happiness. It’s an ephemeral state, a rush of emotion, as any other. Nirvana is as big a crock of wishful thinking as any concept of heaven. Working hard at things that matter – like your relationships and stuff you want to create as expressions of your experience of being alive – prepare the ground for happiness to occur. But, like any bloom, it’s not an end in itself. It’s just another fleeting part of who we are.

Love, on the other hand, is an essential nutrient. Spiritually, we die without its presence in our lives; sometimes physically, too. Love is oxygen for the soul.

Love is why I can look at an old cup with a handful of grape hyacinths in it and believe that everything is okay, no matter what else I might be feeling.

This little cup was my grandmother’s. Lillian Kelly was her name, or Nin as we all called her. Every afternoon before dinner she’d pour herself a little nip of scotch and sip it on the rocks from this very cup. When I was small she used to let me suck the ice cubes when she was finished. Just the sight of the cup brings me a whiskey warmth, reminding me I am loved. I am that small loved child forever.

The grape hyacinths are dotted around our back garden here at The Bend. I don’t know who planted them, but someone must have. Someone put these bulbs in the earth with their heart full of beautiful dreams. They put them here to enjoy them, and so I do. I would never dig them up and replace them with something new. Every spring they will remind me, as all flowers do, that nothing lasts forever.

Except love. This little cup full of it has worked its way into one of my stories, quite literally – this fine example of 1970s kitchenalia has a cameo in the novella I finished a few weeks ago. It will carry my grandmother’s love into the future far beyond me – and this thought fills me with a bright burst of joy.