n.Lack of physical or mental energy; listlessness: synonym: lethargy.
n.A dreamy, lazy, or sensual quality, as of expression.
n.Oppressive stillness, especially of the air.
I can relate to all three of these definitions of the word languor.
The first one is how I’ve been feeling a lot lately. I want to write but don’t have the mental energy to write to a prompt let alone write a post about anything else. I’m often physically tired after working at the Op Shop and winter has left me rather lethargic and listless. I’m hoping spring will snap me out of it.
The second definition is a pleasanter sensation. I sometimes feel languorous on a sunny afternoon in my garden. I listen to the birds and the wind chimes that I hung in the apple tree and it is lovely and dreamy and peaceful. Until the next-door neighbours get home and start revving up cars or swearing and arguing, then it’s time to go back inside.
The last definition, for me, is a hot summer’s day, the kind we had way too many of in Adelaide. The air is hot and still and nobody has the energy to do much of anything. The sort of weather when you start to worry about bushfires and in Adelaide, dust storms.
Here in the southern hemisphere, we are entering spring, not autumn but I have to admit that I find it hard to choose which is my favourite of the two. I love seeing spring bulbs, blossoms and the return of birds to my garden but autumn is a special time too.
When I was a small child in England autumn was the time that we went to collect acorns or horse chestnuts. I don’t recall if I ever played conkers but I am sure that I saw children playing it at school. Mum showed me sycamore tree seeds and the way they fell to the ground. I liked it when the leaves fell and they felt crunchy beneath my feet.
In South Australia where I lived for many years, I didn’t see such a lot of deciduous trees. as the climate there has become hotter and drier over the past few decades it seemed as if Adelaide no longer had proper autumn weather.
One of the things I love about Tasmania is that there are four distinct seasons and once again I can enjoy seeing the trees change from green to yellow and gold and feel crunchy leaves under my feet.
My earliest memories of library visits were when I was at Primary (Elementary) School. During some classroom lessons the teacher would bring around the “library cart”, a trolley with assorted books for us to choose from. It wasn’t an entirely free choice though. The teacher would only allow you to take a book that was considered appropriate for your reading level. Classes in the mid-sixties were large and I guess the teachers did not have time to spend helping kids with books that had harder words. I think that was a shame because many of them might have learned more from reading a hard book they were interested in than from an easy one that bored them.
We also had a school library and once or twice a week there would be a library lesson. I looked forward to these as I liked to read but I often found the time-wasting very frustrating. The library had wooden tables and chairs and when we arrived everyone had to sit down and be quiet and then we would be allowed to go and choose a book one table at a time. I used to get so impatient for it to be my turn so I could get my book. As I said, classes were large, up to forty children so sometimes it was quite a long wait. Finally, I would find an interesting looking book and settle down to read but not for long. “Put your books down.” we’d be commanded. It was time for the Librarian to tell us about new books that had arrived or read to us from a book she had chosen. For me, this was the equivalent of an advertisement and it really annoyed me. We only had an hour in the library and I wanted to read MY book. We were allowed to borrow books to take home but I didn’t always do this as it involved speaking to a teacher. I was shy and did not want to be judged on my reading material. I would put my book away and try to find it again next time I was in the library. I think this may be why I have a thing for keeping my books in alphabetical order. It makes them easier to find.
The local lending library was another place I knew well as a child. Mum took Naomi and I there when she thought we were old enough to have library cards and the library at Elizabeth South became one of the first places I was allowed to go alone that was outside of our immediate neighbourhood. I did feel important going to the library on my own. Later a brand new library was built in the city centre and I would sometimes visit there too.
In High School, I spent many lunch hours in the school library reading. When I was fourteen I changed schools and as I didn’t know anyone at the new school I looked forward to visiting the library at lunchtime. I was horrified to find out that I could only visit twice a week. Girls and boys were not allowed in the library at the same time and one day was for senior students only. I was so angry. I could not understand why they had such a stupid rule.
So you could say that libraries played quite a large part in my early years and even though I rarely visit one now I have great affection for them.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I have been finding it a bit hard to work up enthusiasm for posting on this blog during the winter. I don’t get out much and as much I love my house, garden and pets I sometimes would like to photograph something else and preferably somewhere else.
Sometimes it can be hard to summon up the enthusiasm to do things, even things you like doing. You get a case of the “Too’s” as Naomi would say, “Too cold, too dark, too tired, too late, too hard.” I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator anyway and I feel like this in winter especially. I don’t get tired of blogging but when you don’t have a lot going on elsewhere in your life filling the blank page seems much harder. This year has been hard too because having the house on the market has made me afraid to get heavily involved in craft hobbies as a lot of my stuff is packed away and in the garage. It’s also meant that I have fewer opportunities to go out. Two or three times recently I’ve had the idea to go somewhere only to have to cancel my plans because of house viewings. When people come I have to take Cindy out for a walk and that usually means I’ll miss the bus and have to stay home for the rest of the day.
Naomi and I have both been looking for ways to overcome this feeling. She has been taking online courses and reorganising her craft space so she can get on with projects. I have started a couple too but I know that what I really need is more chances to get out and take pictures. Spring is coming and I am hoping to do that more. Spring always brings back my enthusiasm for nature as I enjoy seeing and photographing the flowers and the birds.
August is the month that two of my favourite events take place in Hobart, the Model Train Show and the Doll Show. I managed to get to both and took photos so that has given me some incentive to get posting again.
I don’t mean this post to be a downer. I actually did think of quite a few things that I have great enthusiasm for. My home, pets and hobbies all fall into that category as well as various places I’ve been to and things I like to do. But this is what came out of my head today.
I now have to summon up some enthusiasm for getting chores finished. Right now I’m writing this post instead of wrangling the vacuum cleaner. If I were one of the bloggers who write list posts I could write “My Top Five Chores That I Have No Enthusiasm For”
This word particularly reminds me of schooldays and the excursions we were taken on. I did not particularly enjoy school but excursions were usually fun. They gave me an opportunity to go somewhere and see new things and also to get away from the everyday routine of lessons.
Excursions in the 1960s were not as elaborate as the school trips of today. All primary school students got taken to the Coca Cola factory. We could watch the bottles whizzing around the assembly line and see a film about how Coca Cola was made. Every kid got a “Coke” ruler.
The first year I was in Australia my class visited an agricultural college. I have to admit that I don’t remember much about the excursion except that we went in two double-decker buses and one of them hit some kind of a cable between two buildings.
In High School, our English teacher who had worked with special needs children arranged for us to visit his former school. It was quite an education for a group of 14-year-olds to see the challenges these children and their teachers had to deal with.
By far the most significant excursion for me was a trip that my class took to Hallett Cove with our science teacher. It was a long trip on the bus from our school in the northern suburbs of Adelaide to the southern beaches. It was the early 1970s and Hallett Cove was not yet a suburb. The day we were there some old beach shacks were being demolished. Hallett Cove is the site of glaciers formed as early as the pre-Cambrian era and there are interesting rock formations. It was a good trip although the area was not yet a conservation park and there were no proper paths. I remember it as being quite hard to clamber about for an awkward, clumsy kid like me.
The significant part is that about seven years later David and I bought a house in the new and growing suburb of Hallett Cove where we lived for the next 25 years.