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The time passes in drips, drips of time so that the days are long but the week is short, over before you are ready. You are ready each night for sleep, ready after a full day to close your eyes, but not for the last morning when all that time spent sleeping seems such a waste. For there is a cap on the sprawling mornings of coffees and painting in unseasonable sun. There is a cap on printing recipes and cooking them, on makeup free and an endless stream of boiling the kettle. And you aren’t ready. You aren’t ready even as wearing proper clothes and checking your mail have an allure they didn’t only a wk ago. You still aren’t ready to go back, for the mythical wk away to be over, all realised memories now.

And because you are leaving this last afternoon feels different. You do not feel free, but already tethered once more. By thin strands of packed suitcases and readied cars. Everything in order and the future no longer ignored. Your prayer is written for tomorrow and you have checked your timetable for Monday. These things pinch a bit but they are better done than anticipated. They are part of the tethering back to the life that you are happy to live almost all of the time.

You sit and wait, or lie listlessly and read your 19th NY times article of the month, instead of snatching up these last moments and treasuring them, whatever that means. It is too hard to take them out and stare at them once you know they are limited edition. And this waiting afternoon I am neither here nor there.

There are rituals in the drive, halfway coffee and hymn lyrics recalled, 2 hours to shake off the last bit of holiday wistfulness. By the time I am home I am thankful to be, carrying in suitcases and cracking open windows. Listening to the silence and remembering how to be by myself in the middle of so many.

I am thankful, for all of this. For the normal and the departure. I am thankful for the way these patterns repeat so that I know that this too will pass. For half-heard conversations in the fading light about another year in this green bird-sung valley. Another year of breathing out at random intervals, from a happy hurried Sydney life.

And so you can set down your glass, though you have not drunk your fill. You can set down your brush and aside your lament at not being able to capture yet, what it is you love so. For there will be more sunlit mornings, more crunchy afternoons in fading light. It will never be enough, but there is beauty even so. In the deeply buried, tightly grasped treasure, like a half-remembered thing. How I try to make this sojourning malarkey into a homecoming. How wonderful indeed that none of it fits quite right, none of it stays for long enough. So that it points on, ahead, ever. To a homeland I am waiting for, and a Saviour from there.

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