Why wouldn’t you want to have your breasts tenderly and thoughtfully painted with ochre for inma (ceremonial dancing)? And feel a connection between your breasts and the earth around you? Our bodies all come from our mothers’ bodies and breasts and the earth is our continuing mother.
Whether slim and brown, pale and gothic or covered in overdeveloped muscles, nerdy glasses or gold jewellery, young people need to find a way to identify themselves, to the extent they know themselves. In mainstream society, we have nebulous rites of passage for our young people — getting a driver’s license, travelling with friends, drinking alcohol ’til you’re sick.
In the cool piriyitja mornings the flowers are full of honey. Even at the height of the day the flowers cover your fingertips with abundant syrup if you touch them. They are bracingly delicious. The Anangu kids call them lolly flowers.
I tried to change my mind about Tuesday. I did not succeed. In fact, I’ve given up trying for now. I like where I live and work and I like my routine, except for that lumpy bit at the beginning of the week.
Insidiously, the work undermines a caregiver’s self-trust and self-love. This is a danger inherent in the work itself — you have to deny your own needs and desires twenty times (or a thousand times) a day.
If a ball of lava is coming towards you, you focus on it and watch its trajectory, then move sideways, that is, not down the mountain or into the volcano, so that you can avoid it. I have missed catching so many balls in my life that I figured I’d be fine.
"One of Mary’s eyes became permanently closed thanks to that common disease that afflicts long-living dolls treated roughly by toddlers. I did have to take her head off once or twice to see how she was made inside."