days were warm when she was a child and her Mum joked that sunshine ran through
her veins. When she was older, Lou would will her blood to turn to ice, she
would not care, she would not hurt, she would not show anyone the scars.
can almost remember the feeling of being utterly loved by her Dad as well as
her Mum. He was fun. He was the most fun of all the dads and she was proud of
that, proud to have a dad who would start a game of cricket with the kids, who
would play chasey, who would take she and her brother exploring on the bush
track near their home. Dad was always the one to lift a rock just to see if
there was anything living underneath it. He was the Harry Butler of our
was their Dad who encouraged Lou and her brother to be brave and run through
the ants’ nest that sprawled across the track and teemed with bull ants, fierce
and ready to defend their home. The ants’ nest was a couple of square metres
across and Lou and Henry would run through it with hearts racing and delighted squeals
escaping their lips. It was fun. They could do it. Without him, they may never
have been brave.
was younger than Lou and a bit of a Mummy’s boy. He was alternately completely
self-possessed, a lone island untouchable from the shore, and then would become
utterly dependent, the permanent connection to the shore suddenly apparent, the
watery space between them revealed as a merely transient presence.
Henry was Mummy’s boy, then she was Daddy’s girl. Lou was always more
adventurous than Henry and she was proud of it. Fear was something their Dad
spurned. He was for thrills and if that meant a few spills, well, that was life
wasn’t it? Lou agreed. At five she felt it in indefinable ways, at ten she knew
she loved the flying fox ride at the resort they holidayed in, she knew she
loved to shoot the rapids on the wild river, she knew she loved to jump from
towers of dirt and towers of playgrounds. She was proud of her strength and her
courage and she disliked her Mum’s cautions and furrowed brow, always holding
back, being careful. At some level it actually disgusted her, this fear, this
refusal to have physical fun, the safeness of her. In years to come she would
be Lou’s only safe haven.
Palitja Moore 2015
Image by Palitja Moore,Hallett Cove Conservation Park, 2015