Monday, November 20, 2006

Homecoming

On average I have moved house once a year since I was an infant. My family never really settled anywhere, and I got used to houses not being homes. Instead they were places in which we camped for a while. What furniture we had usually came with the house, or it was bought from (and given back) to charity shops. So many personal possessions were lost along the way that I developed an aversion to owning anything.
Like every good nomad, I learnt to cover my tracks. With every move, I tried to erase my memories, to move on unencumbered. I carried little in the way of keepsakes, let alone photographs or letters. I left behind everything that revealed where I'd been, or who I was before.
A lot has changed in me, especially over the past year.
I moved into my new house and studio yesterday, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I had found a home. The space is light and airy, with white walls, pale, varnished timber floorboards, and exposed beams, also painted white – it's almost gallery-like. I can hear water lap against the sand in the bay, a hundred metres below my verandah, and from the living room and bedroom windows I can see a shimmering sea through the gnarled branches of tall eucalypti. On the other side of the wide bay, there's a dark green strip of ancient, uninhabited forest. At night, I can hear cicadas and during the day, the discordant squawks and trills of hundreds of different birds – rosellas, sulphur-crested cockatoos, pink and grey galahs, ravens, magpies, currawongs, ducks, and Indian mynahs, even a few sea hawks. Already, two rainbow lorikeets have come to sit on the verandah railing to watch over the unpacking.
For the first time, I don't want to go anywhere: the fugitive impulse, the urgent desire to be on the run, has left me. Now I am looking forward to a sense of constancy. It's a huge relief.

No comments: