I love Tuesdays in Lismore, written by Ros Fleetwood, Coffee Camp
I love Tuesdays in Lismore.
The early morning autumn fog wafts across the road. We drive cautiously, alert for shadows of cows fresh from their milking machines. We weave amongst newly formed potholes; a legacy of the weeks of continuous rain.
I see shapes in the fog.
I hear the cows contented mooing, now comfortably free of their morning burden of milk. An excited dog barks. I wonder what treasure it has ferreted from the fog. In the distance a truck rumbles up Nimbin Rd.
It's organic market day. The showgrounds are bustling, alive with activity.
I see tomatoes ripe and red. Piles of pumpkins invite buyers. Salad greens look bright and fresh.
I hear the clinking of coins and voices exchanging social pleasantries. Discussions of the weather feature highly. There's more rain coming. Will it flood again?
We buy sunflower greens. I like to eat them one by one. I note the different shapes and sizes of the leaves. Each is an individual. Each is unique like all the market shoppers. How far have they travelled to be here this morning?
We choose some garlic. It's a popular food item in our kitchen. I think of all the delicious meals enhanced by that wonderful plant. What shall we eat tonight?
A child finds a carrot with multiple legs and laughs. His father laughs with him. The sun sparkles on the man's bright white teeth which contrast with the deep darkness of his skin. I marvel at how tall he is.
Another child bites into a crisp cucumber. The audible crunch is followed by juice sliding silently down the chin before a hasty wipe transfers it neatly to her shirt sleeve.
I eat a banana. I taste its ripeness. I feel the soft flesh squishy between my fingers. The water that washes my hands feels cold.
The stall holders are familiar faces; friends who provide food. We chat about pest problems and successes. We swap recipes and storage strategies.
Steadily we fill our sturdy calico bags.
Shopping complete and it's time to sit. We can appreciate the market while dining on organic coffee and gluten free cake.
I hear milk frothing. The coffee aroma is fresh and inviting. My companion sips slowly, savouring the sounds and smells of the market.
There's a hint of garlic in the air, perhaps from our shopping bag or lingering still on fingertips. Faintly I note the lavender that scents my companion's clothes. She smells familiar.
At her breast I taste my favourite food, breastmilk – nutrition and nurture always on tap.
An older woman passes by. She nods and smiles at us. She is part of our community.
If only all could be so welcoming. I'd like every day to be like this; to be able to breastfeed wherever and whenever I need.
I dream that the Lismore I grow up in will have markets selling fresh locally grown foods and hand made goods. I dream that the rainbow nature of our population will mingle daily in the city streets and at annual celebrations like the Lantern Parade.
I believe Lismore's strength is our diversity of peoples of many classes and cultures and of environments – urban, rural, and natural.
I dream of a future where respect for all acknowledges babies' feeding needs. I envisage Lismore highlighted on the map as a breastfeeding friendly community.
Then every day could be like Tuesday morning at the markets.
I love Tuesdays in Lismore.