Happiness as Anarchy #3: Gumnuts

I suspect it’s because I grew up reading Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, climbing eucalypt trees, and going on walks in the Australian bush with my Mum (a botanist) that I love gumnuts. I love their fat round shape and the way they change colour – through greens, reds, yellows and browns – and the transformation from flower to dry nut. The contrarian in me also likes the fact that the bigger the tree is, the smaller its nuts, and vice versa.

This is the nut of the ficifolia, or Red Flowering Gum, in my backyard. While the species is hardy, this tree is a particularly tough exemplar – I chopped it down a few years ago because I was going to build a studio where it stands. The studio didn’t eventuate, but the tree grew back with gusto! It has coral coloured flowers and I love the way the last few flower strands hang on for dear life, defying the change of seasons.


Happiness as Anarchy #2: Things Are Swingin’ – Peggy Lee

If you listen to Peggy Lee singing “Things Are Swingin'” I probably don’t have to write a word about why it makes me happy. Great song. Great arrangement. Great delivery. It’s on the iPod that lives in my bathroom, so it’s often the shower soundtrack (a change from Que Sera Sera in my early twenties, but that’s another story). It’s so well crafted on every level – the lyrics are witty but not too clever, that sparkling piano against the horn arrangements, swing that makes you want to move, and the delight of Peggy Lee’s singing (she had to be smiling while she was recording).

Here are the lyrics so you can sing along:
Things are swingin’,
Birds are singin’,
And just what do you think those bells are doin’ but ringin’?
‘Cause they have to ring to make this whole thing rhyme,
And you know that things are swingin’ all the time.
If the news is
What the blues is,
Then we’d better just practice up on our ones and twoses,
‘Cause where love is you can always find a rhyme,
And where love is, things are swingin’ all the time.
It’s as simple as
As a dimple,
Just remember that
You can find some brand new swingin’ ideas
Underneath your hat!
So keep countin’,
Keep it mountin’,
Till you think it must be Ponce de Leon’s fountain!
Yes, the fountain of youth, for those who know the score,
Means that things will keep on swingin’ for evermore.
Like an ocean
That’s in motion,
Like the wind that’s blowin’ the boat right in to shore,
It’s the livin’est thing to live and breathe
And keep on laughin’ up your sleeve;
Things are swingin’ and they’ll keep swingin’ some more.
Yes, things are swingin’ and they’ll keep swingin’ some more,
Let’s keep on swingin’ and swing right out the door!
Songwriters: Jack Marshall / Peggy Lee

Happiness as anarchy

Like many, I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning and face an election result that indicates the Australian public has descended even further into selfishness, ignorance and greed. But I did get up and looked at a glorious Autumn sky, and read the wise words of fellow Ballarat musician, Mick Trembath:

“Happiness is the great act of anarchy now.
Contentedness is the great revolution.”

His words gave me hope and reminded me that we all have the power to change things, and that small change is equally important as big change.

As I tended my garden and talked to my chickens, I decided that sharing happiness is important. To that end I have decided to post everyday for a year a little something that brings me joy and makes me smile (in no particular order).

#1: Watching autumn paint the leaves in yellow and orange and red


These are Riesling grape vine leaves in my front yard. I can see the vines from my lounge room window and observe the changing seasons. There aren’t many leaves left on the vine, but the afternoon sun catches the remaining leaves in all their glory. I could prune now, but I’ll wait until all the leaves have dropped, enjoying their beauty for another week or so.