Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An Old Familiarity

I arrived in Sydney a little over a week ago. In between jet lag and disorientation I found myself thrust in the midst of something old and something new. And I stood there, in between, trying to find my bearings. I think I am still stuck there.

Last Sunday Week

My flight landed early, on a summer Sunday morning and the pilot decided to take the scenic route. I had a window seat and looked out over the sea and the coastline. Memories came flooding back and a warmth started to grow somewhere in my chest - perhaps roundabout where my heart rests - the beauty of the landscape was breathtaking. It took me back, years back, when I had been taken in by the rugged, bold terrain and I felt myself breath in that boldness. Courage became me. At one point I heard others on the plane shout out: the white cliffs of Dover. In an instant the bubble of a dream burst and I was taken out of that frame of mind, rushing up and away, towards the island up on the edge of Europe. A rude intrusion of memories of cold, grey clouds and lonely moments sitting on a tourist bus or peering out of a train window to see the real cliffs of Dover invaded through my senses. Chilling. And not what I needed. But despite that grossly inaccurate comparison I allowed myself to be drawn in again to the scene out of my plane window, giving my senses every opportunity to capture it all and in doing so, to search within me for that part of me long ago that had created a special bond with this place.

I sailed through the airport despite the excess luggage that I pushed on my trolley and those other ones which I pushed away in my mind. I had family waiting for me after customs, but funny enough, I had also said a temporary goodbye to family at another airport hours ago. Surreal - probably due to the fact that I had not slept throughout a 14 hour flight. The airport looked the same but the 'Dover cliffs' comment lingered on and I found myself making comparisons with Gatwick. Brushing it aside, I hugged and chatted and breathed in the  warm Sydney air as I stepped outside. Half the globe was shrouded in winter. I was glad to have summer welcome me for a change.

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