The Weekend Australian - Review

Advice to Lovers Embarking on a Journey

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When you set out, be sure to pack the hold with a mortar and pestle, spices, chilli, pots of coriander glowing green in the dark, with sarongs, one each, and the music of South America. Remember to include a stall for horses, an endless bag of feed where the velvet of their noses can dip, and dip again, and a canvas hammock low to the deck, where a dog, worn out by sea air and travel, can sprawl. Be sure to pack a hammer and nails, screws, timber, and the designs for chook runs, decks from which to watch the sun’s final flood of colour over the sea, and clinker dinghies. No need for furniture designs: you already carry the wooden love-sea, delicately dove-tailed and turned, polished to a golden hue, in your hearts.

Take it out in the early evening when the sea has flattened to ripples, lie your limbs against its grain and let the day grow round and full as your memories.

Stow paper and pencil, mapping your journey as you go, include honey in abundance, red wine, sacks of rice, plungers of coffee.

Sail by your noses, and by the present and the past: stowaways, sea captains, pirate nephews. Avoid the South China Sea and the Amazon too, but make full sail for Africa via Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Be like Noah and his wife rememberin­g to make room for all the animals: the baby ducks you lugged about as a child, the wombats that burrowed in your bed, the warm fluff of kittens who’ve grown to cats with you, dingoes, koalas, sheep.

Make sure there’s a rambling rose to plant outside the front door of a Welsh cottage, and a seedling of leatherwoo­d to remind you of where’s really home.

When you swim, do so naked, and let the sea curve its song into your skin, singing you home to each other; your journey together, the best kind of love poem.

Adrienne Eberhard

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