Home is where the heart is. Or where you hang your hat. But most of all it is where you go back to when you want to see both how it is as you remember it and what is actually becoming of it. Permanence and change. But in a manner that feels like home will be forever.
It’s not. Change is.
That’s not bad. Change is normal and we better get used to it. I mean, as a species. Not that we really do. We like to stick to what we know, as that’s safe. The herd feeling comfortable. Fight or flight … or often “it will go away and all will be good”. Sticking our heads under the covers, hoping the bogeyman doesn’t exist.
Mostly it is in our heads that that creature roams. Thoughts about what was could be popping up at the strangest moments, disturbing our sleep. We are all scared. And it is logical, as we all do this for the first time. Living. We shouldn’t forget that, with a lot of people trying to make out as if they know better. Yelling in the dark.
I’ve now been “away” for more than a year and – wonder oh wonder – it is the strangest things that visit my Sunday conscience: I wonder how those walnut trees fare. I must have visited them a dozen times in all kinds of weather and light. Always amazed about the almost abstract lines. Typically a great object to capture in black and white. I wouldn’t mind going there right now and have a look. I just hope nobody cut them down.
I’ve had that experience once and was shocked. Literally. A tree in the middle of a forest. Cut down. The only one in a mile. No logical reason, no link to what is “logical”. Just destroyed.
When you think about how important the weather is for us, it is rather amazing that most people don’t think about how it comes to be. Of course we all have that weather app (or if you are like me, you have about five of them as they all tell a slightly different story for today’s weather).
And we read about – better: skim over – climate change, El Nino and all other things we take for granted. But most of us don’t look any deeper. It rains today, bugger.
Any sailor and any pilot will have a different view. We are deeply interested in the weather, now, in an hour and for the duration of the trip. And we want to understand where that weather originates, what makes it happen. Because we know that with the slightest change of factors, the weather changes also.
It’s not magic. It is all about systems, lows and highs, cyclonal and anticyclonal movements, air movements, air density, humidity, wet bulb temperatures and a bit of a guess. The last is what the weatherman does. And if he or she is good, that’s magic.
Melbourne is a bit awkward. We are close to the roaring fourties, have an awful lot of water around us and have a desert – or better: an overheated dry land mass – starting less than an hour’s flight away. That’s why you read things like “four seasons in one day” and “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes”.
It makes for beautiful skies though. So sitting in my fav seat and just staring out of the window is never dull.
When asked and when actually having taken notion of what I do photographically, most people will say that I’m a landscape photographer. The light touching far away ridge lines, the perspective leading the eye into the picture. But I see the light also in smaller detail, sometimes captured and mesmerised by small waves of glimmers playing over the tiny heads of grass stalks. Spickle spackle catching my eye. And the wind creating this slow movement, undulating, like waves rolling into some coast. Catching, above all, my imagination.
I’m always a bit at loss when I see other people just walking by. As if that detail doesn’t exist. At best someone stops and looks at what I’m doing, not seeing. Hesitatingly questioning my actions.
No bloody use trying to explain.
But sometimes I see a smile, a nod. That’s … golden. We are sharing these little glimmers of light. Seeing the beauty of what’s around us, right at our feet.
The sunsets here in CBD (Central Business District, Melbourne) are amazing. I’m sure it has to do with the actual light, but also with my being happy in this strange city. A population of 4,5 million people and it feels like a bunch of villages linked together.
From day one after having arrived here in August 2015 I have the feeling that there is somehow more light, more oxygen, more energy than in the Netherlands. And part of that is true, as Melbourne is about as far from the equator as Gibraltar or Cyprus is in the northern hemisphere. That should mean that the sun is higher up in the sky. I read somewhere that the light is comparable to Southern California.
However, the sun is ferocious: it can be 21 degrees Celsius in the shade and one step out of it and you need a hat, long sleeves and sunblock. No kidding. About 30% of the Aussies have or had some form of skin cancer. No fun at all.
The 15 minute walk back home at the end of the working day is really something special for me. I’m used to having to battle myself through traffic jams, losing up to 90 minutes one way on average. And although the first year in Melbourne was already a terrific change with me taking the tram most of the time, the move to Docklands was the best thing we did in a long time.
Imagine: you literally leave the hectic life of CBD behind you and walk through what is almost a time tunnel to the calm of the marina. Some wind on my face, kayaker bullying their way across the open water, people sitting on benches and enjoying the last sunlight. And the light is almost always superb.
I think I could take a picture every day without ending up with one double. Which is not a bad way of ending the hectic working day.
Sitting in my favourite seat, watching the sun set while sipping a wine. Beautiful colours reflecting over the water into our living room. Spectacular. Suddenly I realise that the sun is actually a very big nuclear reactor, blasting away. Like a bomb.
The scene could easily fit in some post apocalyptic movie. Either I had one glass too many or it is because I’m tired after a long week looking at stuff that links to war. Or perhaps both.
I’m just happy the sun set and the world turned slowly into the reality of an early evening. Better that way.