oxford, 2016

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a plane picks me up from budapest and sets me down in madrid and i go back to peter’s empty house (he has gone to belfast). arriving in barajas is a truly total comedown after the last few days. the plane has dumped me rather unceremoniously into the middle of the emptiness of a big city. on the metro this emptiness creeps under my skin, along with the oppressive heat and the yellow lighting. i get to peter’s and i shut myself in for five days, only going out when i have to. i go to meet jesus for a drink or i go to the fruit shop. the rest of the time i am reading, swinging in the hammock, thinking, and trawling for stuff on youtube. i miss peter. bouncing around inside the emptiness generates the energy needed to pack my things up, and i feel like this energy is perhaps beginning to move into some kind of a vortex, getting me ready to go up to santiago. somewhere in the topsy turvy blur of that solitude, i find myself sitting around listening to music and i am overcome by the need to just move my body. it is too hot outside, so i end up spending what feels like hours dancing around in peter’s living room barefoot. i haven’t just let myself go like that for a while. feels good. you? the body is demanding that i move beyond the (self-imposed) structures born from the possibility of eyes watching. i move and i move and i move in solitude and i dance myself back to a place that i know, and i am back in the living room in mount isa dancing in front of my mothers LP player listening to abba, thinking all the while of just slowing down, bringing the awareness back into the body and what it is asking me to do from moment to moment, connecting for a while with the whirlwind wisdom of the child………


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………so, here is what happens. all in a nice, neat, straight line. i take my bags, i put them in a hire car and i drive up to santiago to drop it all off. on the way, i make a couple of phone calls (love bluetooth!), the lighthouse calls, i listen to music, i sing, i think, i turn the wrong way up a one way exit from the highway and almost smash into a mercedes, i eat lunch in a roadside diner, i successfully follow google maps. i spend the night at gerry’s parents house in ferrol. we go out for a beer with some friends. the next day i drive the car across the country to san sebastian to meet aspa. i pick up a pair of gorgeous hitchhikers from seville on the way and they provide me with some generous company (and a little weed…sssssh). arriving in san sebastian the speed of movement has me back up in the air again. across san sebastian, bilbao, and oviedo we wander hot summer streets, we eat, we drink, we talk, we look at art, we explore and all the while my head is off somewhere, up and down, here, there, everywhere and now i am at my nephew sol’s soccer game just before leaving australia, sitting on the sidelines watching kids run like maniacs. amongst their feet i see a swallow, or at least a bird that looks like a swallow, alone, zipping around at ground level, trying to play soccer too, also caught up in the movement, like my thinking about thoughts that similarly zips around memories of aspa and i flying across the north of spain, saying prayers to plates of food and glasses of wine and meandering museums and streets, before heading back to santiago……………..



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……………….aspa leaves the following day. that evening, i fly to london and get on a bus to oxford where i will spend a week before doubling back to london to meet jane and jenny. like the plane i board, the whirlwind picks me up and flies me upwards, through the air, all the way to the top, like bloody dorothy. i am stoked at the prospect of oxford. time spent there brings me back down to earth through the body, through an-other, through reconnection with rhythm, with walking, with skin. there is a particularly delicious day spent wandering in the cotswolds, gentle walks by canals, lots of long narrow stretches of emotional waters to squeeze myself through. pints, food, old couples in pubs and bottomless bloody mary’s, defibrillators, chicken livers and hummus, snaggletoothed tombstones in decrepitly well kept cemeteries, bumblebees, conversation, plunger coffee with double cream, laughs, american politics, sweetbittersweethoney……..



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……………….burning in the fire. friendship. grimy streets. forgiveness. the white rose. tears. new thinking. dead people. understanding ivy. barad. bumblebees. new place. lavender growing on the sidewalk. muddy swirling river. ghosts. get me out of here. now i am ready to be still…………………………………………………..


……………………………….and so here i am, back in santiago de compostela, far, far away from australia, on gerry’s couch in the house that i am going to live in for the next three months until i go on my camino. i am ordering gear. i am thinking about a new pair of hiking boots. i am teaching. i spend hours reading on this couch, making notes, staring into space….still trying to slow down, in case you are wondering……………………………

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