When you’re feeling stressed, or low, or just need to take some time to breathe – do you have a place you go that helps pull things back into perspective?
I have a place I go that I truly think has saved my life on more than one occasion. It stills the too rapid beating of my heart; offers me solace. It is full of beauty, full of serenity, and best of all, it is free. It is my local park, spreading out like open arms from the waters of the bay; a haven on the harbour.
I have walked in the park in early morning when the dew coated the grass with silver and lorikeets quarrelled while waiting for the sun to fully rise.
I have seen the sunrise pour into the sky like pomegranate juice, staining the sails of the fishing boats, casting shapes that could be human in the sheltered spots under trees.
I have seen the midday sun turning sandstone outcrops white, illuminating the songs and squeals of children; making me unsure whether the sea is glass or light.
I have seen the sun set. A cloth being pulled off a table in one fluid motion; the darkening shadows around the jetty gathering, oily and thick. The sky was a wound, the colour pierced by the black draw of night.
Today I saw an elderly lady walking with her granddaughter, supported by a cane. Yesterday I walked for five minutes, today I will walk for ten, she said. She is recovering from a fall.
I saw seagulls digging their heels into liquid glass like water skiers and cormorants diving for flathead.
I saw a woman with an enormous poodle, both were fluffy-haired and unkempt. From a distance it was hard to tell which was dog and which was owner.
I stood on the wooden bridge that crosses the canal and watched a school of sea mullet munch algae and tiny crabs in the mud. They’re at the whim of the tide, said a man as if it was a bad thing. I can think of nothing more glorious than a life spent drifting with the tide. The rising and falling would make it almost impossible to ever lose sight of hope. You would know what you were in for. Always.
This place, this special place means the world. It is easy to pray in such a place. It is easy to believe.