If you do not come, these things do not matter. If you do come, these things do not matter.

Driving home to the country last night from Melbourne, she sensed the mass of stars before she looked up. When she finally snuck a glance from the road, her breath caught in her throat and her stomach leapt to her heart, and she fell into the expanse of light smattering dark. She had forgotten, or maybe never really knew, how many stars there are. The universe is so much closer out here.

Yesterday she sat in Federation Square and wondered what cities are for. Then she wondered how on earth she’d never questioned cities before.

Cities are the given, the answer without the question. Cities are where everyone comes to live, to grasp hold of everything until your arms are full and you don’t know quite what you’ve got, but you sure as shucks have something. A smorgasbord of experiences, tales to tell – glamorous and ugly, desperate and triumphant, useless and unforgettable – and things, so many things that remind you of all of it. Or none of it.

To her, the country was nothing but expanse, nothing but…nothing. She never stopped to consider anything otherwise. After all, what would she do with all that silence, all that openness, all that space?

But looking out that car window, her pupils drinking in a richness no city could harbor, her body celebrated the space, and a new kind of yearning took hold. It was a peaceful yearning, a slow and circular longing. A longing for herself, a spiraling pathway inward that extended through the night sky and back.

There is no technology capable of expressing this beauty. No digitized color to recreate the wisps of white that unite the night stars in a moonless sky, no recording to convey the riotous monkey-laugh of the kookaburra, no bottled tea tree to capture the fresh eucalyptus floating in the air.

There are secrets to this stillness. But they do not emerge as light in the sky, nor from the beaks of beasts, nor from the rustle of gum trees.

These details are actually beside the point.

If you do not come, these things do not matter. If you do come, these things do not matter.


march 6, 2013

 

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