By Cherie, Monday 3rd August 2020

I distinctly remember the first time I heard the song “It’s Oh So Quiet”.  Alarm clock tuned to Triple J at no doubt the very reasonable, student-life hour of 7:30am – ish. I was stirred from slumber by a bit of a soothing woodwind section (clarinets?), very civilised. Without warning – that little Icelandic pocket-rocket Bjork lets out a voice that would rouse the Nordic Gods. I was instantly awake – I was up – staring at the speakers. What just happened?

It’s a huge song, packed with dramatic theatrical sounds. She screams, she whispers. There’s big full orchestral high-highs and the softest of lows. The juxtaposition of the two extremes is genius – it’s like a little rollercoaster ride for your brain. If you’re not familiar you need to watch the film-clip, all the melodrama of a full length musical packed into one little song.

I’m writing this at 4:30am – I’m usually a bit of a light sleeper from about 4 onwards, and a lot of times I’ll stir, something will pop into my head and I won’t be able to get back to sleep for a while. This morning, a magpie popped in to my head.

Warbling away, somewhere across a few streets was the distinctly musical, Australian sound, singing into the night. Without the dull hum of any distant traffic noise, his sound rang out clear and crisp.

It’s Oh So Quiet.

A little Scrabble letter reminder

Last night we Melbournians went into the beginnings of Stage 4 restrictions – which include a curfew between 8pm and 5am. Mind boggling really. We’re about to launch into an even more paired back version of our lives. As business owners, sole traders and employees await the next lot of news regarding restrictions coming today, we’re nervous, scared and overcome with grief. It’s not what we planned, we see a precious year of our lives slipping away, hopes dashed and again we see our joy run off like an un-masked jogger.

I already feel like I have been just swept along in this last season, living my days and my experiences mostly in the bottom 10% of the range of emotion graph. It’s the mundane, day to day. Get up and put one foot in front of the other. Endure. Wait.

The big, boom-crash moments are gone for now. Joy filled hugs from friends. Glorious reunions with family from interstate. Milestone birthdays, weddings and celebrations that have you smiling from ear to ear all day and laughing until your sides hurt. Hurtling down powdery slopes, icicles stinging your face. Watching teams win games in the rain, little people high five friends as they receive medals. Memories made. Exploration, adventure and wild abandon, well – abandoned.

I admit to becoming addicted to the daily Daniel Andrews presser. Midday comes and the only deviation in the flatline of my life gets dictated to by something else that’s out of my control. I’m either slightly buoyed by the fact numbers are “better” or have my soul-destroyed again by some record breaking, shocking statistic. This insidious and cunning enemy is taking lives, livelihoods and daily robbing us of our joy.

It’s Oh So Still.

Mr 10 feeding the dog chips and refusing to get out of his onesie.

You may have seen our beautiful Ella on Insta last week, talking about finding the joy in the crazy. Those small moments that we might miss otherwise, where we can find joy in the midst of these “unprecedented times”.

So for the next six weeks, I’m going to seek out more magpie songs in the night. Those things I may have missed otherwise, because of the dull hum of traffic noise or the great roar of FOMO, busyness and overscheduling. That’s what I am going to celebrate.

Cuddles and chats on the couch with my increasingly independent and sometimes aloof teen, who will be gone before we know it. Building my relationship with my Mum into this next stage of both our lives, despite the physical distance. An excellent new herbal tea, in a great mug, on a comfy couch. Having my husband home for breakfast, lunch AND dinner – family meals, oh now there’s a joy!

Listening to my kids laugh and play together, and having the time and patience to calmly guide them when they don’t. The time and inclination to tackle a challenging book, and not having to re-read great swathes when I pick it up again because I forgot who the characters were (*facepalm*). Finishing projects, instead of starting with great inspiration and gusto and then getting distracted.

Victoria, not only have we got this, we might just come out better. It appears that we still have lessons to learn about community, compassion and what it means to be human. Being able to hit Chadstone on Saturday does not define us, nor does coffee or smashed avo. Aligning ourselves with a group of anti-masking conspiracy theorists will not give us that true sense of belonging we crave.

Joy begins with choice, grows in a grateful heart and multiplies in and through a generous one. There have been no restrictions placed on our joy.

We love you beautiful Little Cactus community. We get so much happiness from our chats and your delight when you find just what you want or need. If we don’t get to see you for a while, we just want you to know we ARE in this together – we’re thinking of you and we’re with you and we can’t wait until this is over. But until then, choose joy and spread love.

The Little Cactus Team xx