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Everything is different in the forest. The air is clear, unfiltered. The sound is soft, warm. The light is sharp in places, absent in others. We hear sounds like a baby’s cry; catbirds moving unseen. Everywhere is life, shadows across the path. Even the trees seem to move, wrapping around each other in a timeless embrace.

Every time I’m here, I’m home…

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Fragments and memories 7

Fragment: On cities

I’m not from a city. Oh sure, where I live is technically classed as one, but I’m yet to hear it referred to as such without the person doing the talking either smiling wryly, rolling their eyes, or (and) adopting that all-knowing, tired, slightly sarcastic tone for the word.

And fair enough, too. I don’t know of too many cities that you can cross completely on foot in ten minutes, and see only ten people in the process, and know five of them personally.

So the true world of the city is not my world.

But, as you would know if you have been here before, that world fascinates me.

I’m that person who you see, wandering slowly across the footpath in irritating diagonal lines, blocking foot traffic and straining my neck from constantly glancing upwards, wondering if the people inside those windows are straining their necks from constantly glancing down at this steady thrum of activity below. I suspect they are not.

Melbourne intrigues me. Perhaps because so many of my friends were lost to it, moving to the promise of new, more, bigger, faster and then, like moths to the light, forgetting they were anywhere and anyone else. It seems a kind of beast vacuum to me, sucking in food, people, resources, energy, water, and spitting out… what? Waste, ideas, mountains of rubbish and rivers of shit. But still, I love it. I love my slow diagonal wanderings, feeling just comfortably lost as I search one laneway and then another, moving through the streets like one more blood cell in the vast networks of stone and concrete veins that feed the heart of this beast.

It requires focus to make sense of it, to see the patterns and the relationships in time and space unfold. It rewards patience, even as life there continues to move at a pace that invokes forgetfulness.

Next week, I’m going to Sydney. Hello, next big city. I’m looking forward to making my own sense of you.

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Fragments and memories 7

Fragments and memories 6

“Each time he took a walk, he felt as though he were leaving himself behind, and by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, by reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligation to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within…By wandering aimlessly, all places became equal and it no longer mattered where he was. On his best walks he was able to feel that he was nowhere. And this, finally was all he ever asked of things: to be nowhere.”
― Paul Auster, City of Glass

 

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Fragments and memories 6