May the wind always be at your back . . .

I think of them often, my Celtic ancestors.  Read their history.  Love their music.  Honour their sacrifices. Have a chat sometimes.


Green is still green, I say, seated in my garden.
Love is still love.
The Masters are greedier.
The poor are poorer.
There is an inequality in resources and wealth we’ve never seen the likes of. (Even more  inequality than that which caused the French Revolution).

As Jud and Proudie  Paynter from Poldark would say,
“T’int Right, T’int Fair, T’int Fit, T’int Proper.”

Since horses carted  you about and splashed mud on your frocks, I say to the ancestors, we have clogged the countryside and so, it is said,  it now takes longer to drive across London than when the motor car was  first invented. Progress. Bah humbug.

We are fatter than ever.  Ruder than ever. Soft.

Now we fly through the air, have eyes in space, yet despite our vantage points—and our advantages—we do not register that since the year 1970 AD, more than 40% of the world’s wildlife has disappeared.


Green is still green, but under the waves, the pink coral is bleached bone white. Calling time on the Great Barrier Reef.

In the past, in our ignorance, we made mistakes with fossil fuels and pesticides, but even now  The Silent Spring has arrived; the earth is warming; even now the meat industry is an “Eternal Treblinka”, we do nothing.  Nothing meaningful.  We look the other way.

We know better, but The Masters have barred the way to change. So we abdicate personal responsibility.  Because we have become like H.G. Wells’  Eloi. Docile.

Oh dear Ancestors, who sacrificed so much, how do we rid ourselves of this many headed monster called Greed?

. . .

Green is still green, She tells me.
Gaia will come.

Even Masters need to breathe and pestilence, plague and poisoned air will enrage and energise the people,  who will rise up and demand leadership that offers real change.

Our broken system of government  will be swept away. It is obsolete and serves only a small, dull, largely disappointing political class. We can do better.

Or we can perish. The universe couldn’t give a fig.

Plants will grow out of the eye sockets of us hominids who failed to heed  the cleverest man who ever lived, Albert Einstein, in this post-truth post-expert world:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

So with those words,  I would like to sign off The Departure Lounge (Life with COPD) and promise my readers that Frances will post a note when I die. No time soon, I hope.

You have been wonderful and kind to engage in this blog, publicly, and through some  treasured  private emails. Thank you.

My palliative care doctor and the team have given me an opportunity to be well enough to take care of business (and have some fun). They gave me back my life and a chance to put my affairs in order.


Ross Peterson

Locally, I have walked this COPD journey for over 10 years with a man called Ross Peterson. He would be happy for me to tell you he was a gnarly old tradie, but he was so much more. Ross thought nothing of paying thousands of dollars for a stylus for the high fidelity music he loved. We met in pulmonary rehab, then two youngish people in their late 40s with the 70 and 80 year-olds!  But just as knackered.

We became mates. Swapped notes. Tried outlandish ‘cures’. He loved Jack Russells and we were surprised when Rosie, who we rescued from a puppy mill, turned out to be tan and white, not tan and grey!

Ross died suddenly on November 12. Our weekly phone calls  and emails came to an abrupt end.

His nephew said Ross rang only a couple of people – me and his bookie! Emphysema does that to you – isolates you.  But we had some fun together – both inclined to being a bit naughty.

I couldn’t go to Ross’s funeral in Sydney but I can acknowledge him here on The Departure Lounge as a funny,  loving friend and thank him for understanding what few others could.

I’m glad his suffering ended, aged 62. But I miss him.

Rest in peace Ross.



For my little sister Michelle: Let go your heart / Let go your head / And feel it now / Let go your heart . . .







12 thoughts on “May the wind always be at your back . . .

  1. As beautiful as the night sky Barb and as immense as the cosmos. Your amazing words always blow me away and humble me with their truth and power. May the wind always be under your wings darling barbarella to carry you higher than this earthly plane because you are so so so more evolved than the average earth punter!! I will never say goodbye because you will always be around me – in Frances’ memories, in her tears, in your beautiful cottage on the edge of the earth, in the stars, the flowers, the magnificent cosmos. But please try to come visit and haunt me and poke me in my good and naughty ribcage sometimes when u can!!! Betty – Betsy james mumma – came and visited me when I was meditating the morning of her funeral- as a spaceship shaped brown orb – she put this orb around me and the visit also included hundreds of tiny buuterfly wings which beat in unison with my hungry heart!! I know you’ll be getting a new spaceship soon and I know you and Frances are connected though many soul journeys together. As are we all – us soul sistas – I love you so much but you know that – and I can always bring to my minds eye your beautiful cheeky smile and the sound of your wise wise wonderful voice.!! You are so so special darling women. Thank you for your love and mind attention over the years. travel safe dearest heart. Susan Marie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Marie you are very eloquent, as is one touched by mid life love – the sweetest bloom of all, I am reliably told.
      You look 16 on Facebook! Very happy to see you happy. I remember the journey of a thousand steps counting backwards.

      Celtic Sister of the spirals, crazy artist girl with your dark gaze, yet so kind and trailing friends from all walks of life, better for knowing you.

      Isn’t it is gift, this existence?
      Love you Susan Marie. You are one of my heroines.

      Please never stop taking photos, but sometimes leave your camera at home.
      Barb x


  2. Exquisite piece of writing, Barb. I’m very sad you have decided to make it your last, because I can hear your voice so much when I’m reading it. It’s wise, down-to-earth and sums up how many of us feel about the fortunes of humanity at the moment. My love to you. Greg

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greg, Thank you for being a lovely reader. Your remarks are incredibly moving to me.

      On another matter: You recently attributed to me a ‘much loved gin-soaked laugh.’ True. ( although more smoked laugh probably), but I can’t believe (nor can Ian, I imagine) that you would dare raise the subject of one’s laughter. You and Frances, born on the same day, sound like a pair of seals barking at the moon when you get going.
      A sound that fills my heart with joy, btw.
      Thank you for being a decent man; an ally and a friend to us. Blessings xxx


  3. Your wise words reminded me of Donne’s poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. You are hovering far enough above our world now to see how it’s all connected – no man is an island. The rest of us, caught up in daily affairs and small worries, are locked into our own little worlds and can’t see the big picture as you do Barb. I am so happy that you are having the best of palliative care so you can still enjoy the best of what this world has to offer: serenity, peace and the love of friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MM of MM, Thank you for your family news in a recent email. I love hearing all the comings and goings. The photographs are great and the little chubby blue eyed fellow has won my heart. You have been so kind over the years keeping me in the circle even when I couldn’t physically be present. It has not gone unnoticed, or unappreciated. You are a true Krone M., an older woman who has my immense respect for her wisdom. Whomever has your loyalty, indeed possesses a treasure.

      Thank you for being a constant reader from day one. Always cheering me on. And sometimes weren’t our life experiences eerily similar, underneath anyway?

      We will have our cup of tea, I believe. Till then, much love and wellness. Barb x


    • Hey Nicki, you have reminded me that people can be encouraging and that it matters. (I found that when I worked as a screenwriter in the USA and felt Australia could learn a lot about negativity stifling creativity).

      Thank you for your support.

      Maybe see you round like a rissole.


  4. Not goodbye, my dear. Not yet.

    Another treasured friend rang this morning, with the news that he had been close to death, with virulent pneumonia, and did not tell a soul. Better now, but reflecting, even on the brink, on the transient beauty of life, and how much he was missing discourse, laughter, argument, and shared memories with his friends.

    You have reached a place of contemplation, and farewell. May that place be a solace to everyone who loves you. You have shared your journey which will be a solace to many.

    So not goodbye, my dear. Not yet.


  5. For an Eleventh thought as the new year 2017 creeps ever nearer.
    Flashback to where we came together with
    Bob Ellis
    November 2015
    and Wars and Rumours of Wars

    Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre
    Published by Boban Services Pty Ltd. ACN: 001516945
    War And Rumours Of War
    Posted by Bob Ellis on November 22, 2015

    The words we use are pretty important in this, a time of war and rumours of war and siege and propaganda. ‘Racism’ is I think no longer a useful word. Another is needed, ‘ethno-heathenism’ perhaps, to describe what has followed much of the response to the events in Paris, Brussells, Mali and the Sinai, in the speeches and writings and interviews of those who fan anti-Muslim feelings in Europe and Australia.
    For it is not skin colour that governs the prejudice that assails, world wide, a billion adherents of a particular faith, it is ethnicity and religion. There have been for instance three hundred Australians murdered by Christians in the past year and only two by Muslims, in Parramatta and the Lindt Cafe. Yet we hear no politicians condemning Archbishops and Cardinals for not having more vehemently condemned those murderers of wives and children, nor those Christian beasts who have, over decades, buggered in secret choirboys and little girls or covered up, like Archbishop Hollingworth, these iniquities, nor felt up schoolboys in the dormitories of Knox and Kings like…but my lips are sealed. Condemnation of these evil Christians by other, eminent Christians has been singularly lacking, but no condemnation of this lack by Bolt and Kenny and Henderson.
    Ethno-heathenism anyway isn’t working very well anywhere. Paris and Brussells are besieged and locked down. Tourism to Egypt has collapsed. The heinous dictator Putin has been embraced by America, and Assad forgiven for killing more people than died on both sides at Gallipoli.
    And Islamic State is winning. It controls and administers most of Mesopotamia. It’s paralyzed the night life of Hemingway’s favourite city, and locked the borders of Europe against a million starving and freezing refugees. It’s done this with about thirty, no more, trained suicide bombers waving kalshnikovs and shouting ‘Allah Akhbar!’ It’s terrorised the world.
    And we’re told by the ethno-heathenists we can beat them easily, wipe them out, exterminate them, extinguish them, bomb them back to the Stone Age, without any boots on the ground or civilian casualties or any negotiated settlement with ‘extremists’ like them at the table. We can sort it all out, we really can, by embracing and taming, somehow, Assad and cuddling up to the Ayatollahs and asking Shi-ites and Sunnis after a thousand years to kiss and make up and forgive one another for slaugtering their respective relatives in millions over the centuries.
    How crazed and prejudiced is this. How etho-heathenist. How dumb.
    And we will see what we shall see.

    Mal Kukura November 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm
    The not-so-good “sam” you mention – Samuel Phillips Huntington – distinguished himself in the nineteen sixties by devising an ethno-heathenist plan euphemistically called “Forced urbanization”.
    The idea was to forcibly (at gun point) remove the people of Vietnam from their natural homes and farms and lock them up in concentration camps (they were to be called “strategic hamlets”).
    The vacated lands were then to be carpet bombed and defoliated with herbicides. Clever?
    Charles Darwin used the word “race” in the alternative title of his famous 1859 book: “… or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”.
    By his own admission his “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” – proposes a racist theory of human origins.
    The advent of the Copernican Revolution and the five hundred year epoch of “modernity” that has seen technology adopted by peoples of many diverse ethnicities, races, religions, creeds and civilizations – has discredited Darwin’s theory of genetic explanations and has demonstrated that cognitive and cultural (including technological) criteria are also important sources of non-genetic competitive advantage among human identity groups.
    Ethnicity is not necessarily entirely genetically determined.
    Huntington’s megalomanic ethno-heathenism is evident in his fascistic proposal for how to deal with the indigenous people of Vietnam in their post WWII new deal struggle for self-determination after centuries of occupation by Chinese, French, Japanese, British, French (again) and then American colonizers.
    It wasn’t much different with the American Indians and the Australian Aboriginal peoples. At least the reservations didn’t have gas chambers and crematoria.
    The Cold war era secular-ideological-ethno-heathenism in South East Asia has given way to the religious middle-eastern petro-ethno-heathenism, embedded in the dogmas of the “clash of civilizations”.
    The imperialists’ obsession with dominating weaker peoples was disguised as anti-communist until the 1990s when most of the punitive actions previously taken against those who resisted imperial domination was confined to SE Asia and then in about 1990 – a switch was made to adopt the disguise of an anti-Islamic species of ethno-heathenism after which most of the punitive actions taken against those who were resisting imperial domination was situated in the near east, middle east and central Asia.
    Most military aircraft, war-ships, tanks, troop carriers, trucks and power-generating engines run on fuels refined from crude oil and gas.
    Control of West/Central Asian oil and gas is critical to mobilizing of full spectrum military forces. The military forces of the USA seem likely to continue to control those energy resources.
    What is not so clearly perceptible is who will control the military forces of the USA – will it be the ethno-heathenist reactionary fascists who, like their theorists Carl Schmidt and Sam Huntington hate democracy and constitutionalism or will it be the ubermenschen cultural mutants determined to establish a sustainable global culture?


  6. Barbara, it’s a quiet Friday afternoon, the children attend to their happy caprice and I watering the garden … and my mind turned to you.
    One of those moments where the thoughts find their own way.

    And i hope you are living, after such quiet here.
    And if you are let me say, hey you, and offer a smile and a smooch.
    And if you are not, let me offer this – I remember you.

    I rememeber you.
    On this indifferent Friday afternoon.
    In the garden.
    The finches and the succulents and the lavender taken from my mother’s grave.

    I rememeber you.



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