Recollections of the strangeness of life
It’s a morning ritual. Pick up the surfboard not long after sunrise has paled the eastern sky and descend through the rainforest to the small beach below. It’s a good day if the Pacific’s swells are pumping and it’s a good day when the swell is only small. For many who live in this fortunate part of the country, every day is a good day, or should be.
IN THE BRIGHT LIGHT of an early afternoon in the summer of 1970 I stood atop that long flight of stone stairs that connects the valley of Woolloomooloo to the ridge of Victoria Street. There I stopped and looked out onto a city that then seemed full of skyscrapers.
HOW DO YOU ACCOUNT for the different way that life turns out for people, even when they share much in common?
I REMEMBER PEIRRE WELL, but I’m not sure that his memory of me is as sharp. I got this impression one Saturday afternoon in the late summer of 2007 when a friend and I were walking the foot track that follows the Tamar River. It was on the banks of that river that we encountered him.
An excursion into shared memory... a house, a mystery package and a……
It has taken generations of feet to wear these smooth indentations into the steps: bare feet; feet in working men’s boots; feet in stylish city shoes; military-booted feet; clattering high heels; the sandaled feet of the Cross’ bohemians; the corporate, black-shoed feet of suited office workers; feet in the sneakers and sandals of 60s youth; the well-clad feet of the 1930s well-to-do coming down from their Art Deco apartments; the shambling feet of drug users and alcoholics; the urgent, smart-shoed feet of opportunists; the pseudo-working class feet of leftist politicos in cheap shoes; feet in thongs; the feet of the poor from the valley in their dirty shoes with worn soles.
THIS WAS THE TENOR OF LIFE at 168. A work-a-day world accented by the conviviality of evenings and weekends. Meals together. The good company of visitors. Interesting people who moved in to share their lives for awhile before continuing their journeys in life.