Fresh morning light practically threw itself at the ground, lustily grabbing up a leaf, or silver bauble, or the side of a young father’s face and holding them in its radiance before jumping off elsewhere, as fickle and curious with its touch as a baby.
I was at the West End markets this morning, grabbing up some cheap veggies that are grown by local-ish farmers. But I have a confession – I went there for the atmosphere of community. I took my laptop and worked on my novel under the fig trees with a fairtrade spiced coffee from the gypsy caravan (“MICHAEL, MICHAEL? ANNIE! LOUISE!” They screeched if you took too long to pick up your coffee, using a foghorn as a last resort for recalcitrant customers). A young man and his little boy sat by me on milk crates, and we cultivated neighbourly silence, wishing each other a great day when I got up to get my veg. One of the stall owners – I haven’t yet figured out which brightly coloured stand she belongs to – and her dog went by, and though she didn’t remember me from the brief introduction we had in Shannon’s brilliant shop Jet Black Cat Music, her lovely little mutt did, and gave my knee a lick.
The stall holders are so vibrant and energetic – and some give you discounts unasked for. The best way to thank them is to go back the next week. 
All kudos to Misses Fancypants for the pic -

Paul, who grows roses up near Toowoomba always has the most incredible selection of colours in his flowers, and is always happy to chat to you about the best way to keep your bunch living longer. This time, as I paid for my two bunches of dark scarlet roses, I asked him if he’d been affected by the floods. For some reason, though I’d only spoken with him once before, he’d been in my thoughts when the Toowoomba flood occurred. He said the creek at the back of his house rose, and was  incredibly powerful and swollen from the huge amounts of rain. “We were talking about it this morning,” he said, waving at his neighbouring stallholder, “where did all the water come from! It was like someone got a bucket and dropped it! Fwoosh!”
What an incredible way to describe it, I thought, and wondered if I could find the phrases as well as he could to describe the market, and the balm it is in such a chaotic and consumer-driven existence.

Here is my attempt:
The young brown women with their melon-pregnant bellies look like they ought to be pregnant forever, as if they exist perfectly in that state. The children that cavort behind the gypsy caravan where the live music is set up, are allowed to grub in the leaves and dropped figs that line the earth, and to extend their curiosity through their fingers to the world around them, and are never told to ‘put it down, it’s yucky’. Their mothers seem always to have incredibly long curly hair – often red or chestnut and look as if they’ve been placed on the milkcrates with their eclectic fabric covers by an artist to be painted. The gypsy caravan baristas know everyone in the market it seems, and what each of them drink, and are always so happy when they take your order from up in their most fantastic spectacle of a vehicle. Behind them is a stall of flowers, fruiting shrubs like blueberries and frangipanis, and behind that still, a husband and wife team read futures and sell the most wonderful coconut ice. This is the heart of the market – to either side are two arms which encircle the whole with vegetables, very cheap and wholesome meats and fish, African hats and bags, hot food from all over the world (the Okonomiyaki is out of this world), jewellery designed and made by the stall owners, second hand clothing and new, records and cds, French soaps and goats cheeses, a man in a chicken hat who sells divine eggs, and much more depending on how the place has decided to morph itself on the particular Saturday you go. I’m so very grateful it’s there, and for the hard work people put in, and for its spirit. The fact that it’s only there once a week – as if it has arrived overnight in a mist like the Town of Brigadoon from the 1954 film (which, essentially, it has) – makes me cherish it even more.