The departure memory kit

thesis daruma doll

thesis daruma doll

Does it happen to you that in the days before you leave on a long journey you look upon your surroundings with fresh eyes? Eyes that understand that they may never look upon those same surroundings again? Departures are bittersweet in the ways they bring the finite boundaries of life into sharp relief. Bitter mortal realities soaked through with the sweet excitement of the unknown.

It is summertime, the Queensland sun burns, and the harsh glare of the light casts a grey tinge on everything. I walk outside to my mother’s garden, a place buzzing with insect life, carpeted with green grass, punctuated by pockets of colourful flowers. This space reflects the hidden corners of a mother’s heart. I marvel at this gardener’s ability to make life spring forth from her hands. This garden is born from her sweat, her senses, her love, her simple human need to feel her hands in the dirt. When I sit out here, I bask in this natural manifestation of feminine creative energy. Drawn to this same energy, my father spends hours seated here, watching the birds fly overhead as the life of the garden proceeds faithfully along the lines set out by nature. Seated in the swinging chair, he spends his time watching the world go by. I love this space, I will miss this space.

As I wander about with the camera, I allow my eyes to caress different corners and when the heart sings out, I point the camera and take a photo. There is the garden altar that my nephew Xavi and I built yesterday~ a new home for certain sacred objects while I am gone,  an anchor point for my heart to hold onto while I am away. Fragrant roses….the bird bath…. the space where my brother and I built a fire so I could symbolically burn my thesis and begin transforming the past into new possibilities. I wonder where I would be without these symbols? Who would I be?

Flat.

Empty.

I find myself now,

more than ever,

needing to drink in that sense of magic,

an antidote.

I walk inside to the house that has kept my life contained these past three years. It is white, cool, bright, comfortable. In my private space, where nobody sees me, I look to the pile of objects sitting on the floor. One backpack, a GoPro with accessories, a pair of waterproof hiking shoes, clothes, toiletries, medical supplies, a camera, a telephone, various plugs and cables. Passports. Life stripped back to the bare essentials, destined to be unceremoniously crammed into a small bag and carted about. The pile is not bare enough. I wish I did not need to take anything with me! Is there anyone who has not dreamed of peeling absolutely everything away and setting off, completely unencumbered?In my dreams, travel becomes a metaphor for the grand journey we must all take, the final shedding before being reborn.

These thoughts and images meld together, forming a heartache that pulses with the soft, gentle sadness of departure. Inspired by the gardener, I take this heartache in my hands and bury it deep in the earth so it can feed me with secret smiles to fuel my footsteps and lighten things up when discomfort descends.

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