Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 218

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps & other Text series

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Monday - Saturday, August 1 - 6 2011 (diary)

Margaret Olley, iconic Australian painter Margaret Olley, the iconic Australian painter, especially known for her still lifes with flowers, died a few weeks ago, age 88.
Margaret has had her share of emotional ups and downs (with some depressive "black holes" as she called them), but she was (as I gather from watching a documentary about her life) increasingly contented and happy during her later years.
Margaret had a passion for painting and felt a deep connection with nature. Little wonder that she kept painting flowers. She said that when her time had come, she would say "Hang on, I have to finish this painting first !"

Although I believe that I am a totally different type of person compared to Olley, I can strongly identify with her feelings. I too feel a deep connection with nature (always have had) which is becoming increasingly strong and important as I get older. Because (like all others of similar age) I am increasingly acutely aware of my finite presence on this earth.

Still life, by Margaret Olley Up until a few years ago I strongly felt that one would prolong one's life by having and living with a loving partner. Perhaps this is true for some and to some extend. However if one's partner dies first, this positive can become a negative instead.
For example my German Grandfather lived only for another year after his (much younger) second wife died. Likewise my mother's love for life quickly diminished after my father's death.
Both my Grandfather and mother were still physically strong and healthy when they died at age 81. They both died (as my GP put it in her files) of a "broken heart".

So (although the death of someone dear, like a partner, ex-partner or one's child, would certainly have a severe emotional effect) the strongest life prolonging force (I believe) can be one's deep connection with nature. It is a permanent connection and there for us for however long we manage to live.
Perhaps this realisation is hitting me especially strongly now, since I permanently live on the Mango farm. I am surrounded by nature here.
Every morning as I do my constitutional walk around the property I notice the growing mango fruits. Some of them are now the size of cherries, others of walnuts and even some as large as peaches.
I often make a small detour when driving to the nearby shopping centre, or I take the new Tiger Brennan Drive to Darwin (which follows quite a scenic route), just to enjoy the tropical environment of lush bush and exotic trees.
So, as long as my health holds out and I have something to read or write about, I am a deeply contented man.

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Sunday - Wednesday, August 7 - 10 2011 (diary)

Suddenly just a slight lift in the humidity (from 20% to 50%) and it immediately affects me, with a sniffy nose. From experience I know that once this gets hold it moves down my mouth, then to my throat and ends up in my lungs where it will sit for ages until I get some medication. So quick like a flash right from the first few sniffs I started to take strong Codral tablets and it appears that they are halting the germs.
I have to see the GP anyway within the next couple of weeks for my regular cholesterol/blood pressure prescription, so I wait and see. My regular doctor here has moved on, so we all here on the Mango farm have to find another good one which may not be easy.

Nevil Shute At the Library this week my eye spotted A Town like Alice (by Nevil Shute) on display and I immediately borrowed it. It is more than 50 years since I read this book and together with In the Wet and On the Beach immediately wetted my appetite for Australia. In fact largely because of these three books I ended up here.

As I think about this I suddenly remember that I borrowed In the Wet from an early girlfriend of mine, Ariette van Rossum. The relationship never took off, as she was a professional dancer with the Amsterdam Ballet group, destined (I believed) to remain in Europe forever, whereas I as a geologist was sure to leave the old continent.
How wrong can one be. Some 20 years later I bumped into her at the Festival Theatre in Adelaide. Ariette had married an English choreographer (Jonathan Taylor), who had landed the job of Artistic Director of the Adelaide Dance Theatre So they moved here and Jonathan did a fantastic job here and all around the world with the ADT during the 1980s.

Anyway it occurs to me now that Nevil Shute's books may perhaps also have instilled in Ariette a serious interest in Australia.

Reading through A Town like Alice after so many years again I can't help getting tears in my eyes at the oddest moments. There is a strong emotional undercurrent which I tap into here with all sorts of connections. In part it is the story itself (portrayed on a real brave Dutch woman in Indonesia during WW2, a Mrs. Geysel-Vonck), but it also is an expression of my feelings of deep happiness for having made the decision to come to this wonderful country myself.

Although Australia and its inhabitants turned out to be quite different from what my wife Antien and I originally imagined, it has been the absolutely right environment where we both (I believe) have found ourselves.
In other words, this country's natural, emotional and laid back mental environment has allowed me to become the person I always have wanted to become. With that statement I perhaps have explained best the true source of my feelings of happiness and, yes, gratitude.

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