And so we watch and so we learn/With eyes wide for our dreams to yearn

Posts tagged ‘ramblings’

Handprints

When I was in Rajasthan I stood in a temple and held my hand against a print on a wall. The village had been abandoned for centuries, lost and forgotten, save for the story of their disappearance, tourists clambered over old stone houses and posed amid the ruins. All we knew now, was that the village was haunted. 

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But I stood. In that temple. With that handprint. It wasn’t the only handprint, but this one was in my reach, close enough that I could stand on tiptoes and press my palm to match hers. I knew it was a ‘hers’. Another woman, just like me. 

But she was a woman of long ago. Who’s language I could not understand, even as today words stood carved on the pillars of that temple. Who’s life and culture differs from mine so greatly it takes whole books of ideas to understand. A woman’s handprint, henna red against sandstone. Bu I had been told, I knew what that means; a woman condemned to die. 

In my world, our world, we tell stories to each other, to explain feelings and ideas and what mere facts can explain. We share lives and fantasies as easily as the sun shares sunlight, as the breeze shares coolness with our vividly alive skin. Just think. To be alive. We weave our stories as immortality, armour against our world of fleeting life, held onto with every passing second. Because without them, we forget. What can we remember, but the stories we spin our lives into? Does this make us more substantial, documenting every moment of our existences, with diaries and momentos, Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. Clinging to our nows and making them forever. 

But we forget. 

We forget that lives happen, lives are lived and loved and lost in the hopes of so many, desperation and joy repeating like the seasons. That a woman once stood where I was, and grieved. Not just for the loss of her husband, but the loss of her life. Having tied all her worth to a mere mortal, her life was to be cut as surely as his was, be it by her jumping or being pushed onto his burning body. Cremation for two, because surely love burns eternal.

The real forever lies not in our tweets and saved MP3 files. It lies in handprints, scattered across the globe. It lies in carvings, not in rooms of wood and stone, but in time. We are as old as the universe, truly, and each moment we breathe merely adds to the compilation of time we barely know ourselves. 

Every inch of our planet is layered with the past, of stories and lives told over and over again. Searching for something greater, never knowing if we’ve found it. Will we find it? Maybe, one day. But until then, we can only feel. We can only remember.

We remember for those long gone, what their worlds would have been, when lives ran so alien to your way of now. They weren’t as different as we imagined. They felt wonder and curiosity and fear and pain and joy, just  the same. They died, just as their forefathers did before them. And as feet tread this well worn path, again and again, baby steps of change incrementing us forward imperceptibly, blinking under the sun, one handprint comes to mind. Red, small, thin. The handprint of a wife without a husband. The handprint of a woman about to die. A piece of humanity amid the wreckage ensued by time…more than what is left for so much more if our past. As obscure as our future and as alien as martian life…and yet, her handprint fitted mine, so perfectly, perfectly…

Get Out

Get out.
Flee now, the growing cobwebs from within the deepest recesses of your brain, the stagnant solidarity you can sense setting within your cerebellum
Escape the stillness given by time, by the single strand of life you are spinning on, there is more to life than this, don’t you know?
Get out.
Now. Tomorrow. For fifty years to come.
Your chances gone are past, but your chances now are here.
Barricade your fears in walls of what you don’t know;
Embrace the world as you are yet to know it.
Come on,
Get out.
How dare you think all there is to know has already been found!
Open your eyes and open your arms and run across the horizon.
The future is as certain as the pregnant pauses between a methuselah’s murmurs, and it’s as beautiful and bright, as the distant sun reaching its rays to the other side of this terrestrial body spinning beneath your feet
Get out.
Now. Never stay. The nearness of bars increase by the increments of every time you turn down the chance to try something new, every time you say no.
Get out.
Find freedom. Find loneliness. Find fear. Find love.
Find roots where you truly belong, and leave dust trails where you don’t.
Find details in where you want to be – find everything you weren’t expecting and most of the things you didn’t want to.
And kiss them, savor them, taste them with each breath as your lungs grasp for air – taste them with lips smiling in the sheer joy of knowing more, seeing more, feeling more – living and being more!
Get over yourself.
You are so small. So magnificent and imperfectly perfect, don’t you see?
It isn’t until you stop scrutinizing the mirror for every flaw, that you can truly see yourself – let go of that, see the wonders around you.
So GET OUT.
Stop waiting. Stop assuring your security, your future.
You’re not safe, not a single one of us are.
You are alive.
Take that risk, take that chance. Stop being uncertain! Stop not deciding. Make a choice. Take the plunge. Leap into something new and
Get out.
Find the skyline you never knew existed.
Find the whimsical vision of your dreams.
Find the people too incredible for you to have believed existed.
Find the stories you want to be told over and over and over again.
They are out there, waiting for you.
Just get out.
Reach out. Reach in. Reach across the continents with hands and words filled with things you don’t even know if you can give yet.
Reach others, give and give and thank and share and take.
Surprise us all, surprise yourself, with the time and place, each moment and chance when you can,
when you could,
when you did get out.

Get out.

Get out

I’ll be out there with you.

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Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s like the ocean, washing over you in small wavelets, until you’re surrounded by swirling creativity – or other times it pierces through you, like a sudden ray of sunshine, a bolt of sudden happenstance, a thought or image striking your mind with brilliant urgency.
Most often for me though, inspiration forms in fermenting bubbles; ideas simmering, growing and combining with escalating intensity, magma building up under the tectonic plates of my consciousness, until the pressure becomes all too much and I succumb to my pen and paper, in an ‘attack of poetry’ as I find myself calling it.

This was one of those times. Sitting down, this all spilled out, and honestly I’m not very sure about it. Going back through the archives of this blog, you can see this isn’t my usual format for poetry – honestly it feels more like a piece of spoken word, than standard verse or prose. I can imagine, when my sister comes home, us standing together and speaking it together, alternating lines as our voices convey the feelings I hoped to portray with these words.

And maybe, when all is said and done, it’s not very good. Like I said, it’s not a way of writing that I’ve done before – and yet, the words of Sarah Kay come to me, from her TED talk about Spoken Word:

“Sometimes the only way I know how to work through something is by writing a poem. And sometimes I get to the end of the poem and look back and go, “Oh, that’s what this is all about,” and sometimes I get to the end of the poem and haven’t solved anything, but at least I have a new poem out of it.”

And maybe that’s all that poetry is about. Throwing words together, combining ideas, spreading our consciousness on the canvas at hand and sculpting it just enough to be able to stand back and say, “Hey, maybe others might like to look at this too.”

Travel: It Changes You

You know when people ask you how something has changed your life? And expect a nice, 100 word answer? Hehe, sometimes it isn’t so simple 😛
Because the thing that people don’t realize is,  is the fact that travelling has been one of the defining elements of my entire life. Literally, I had crossed 2 continents before I’d reached my second birthday. The first few years of a child’s life massively influences them in every way, studies have proven it. Babies imprint on people, things and places, whether they remember or not. My feelings towards a Russian refugee who helped my parents with me during the first 6 months of my life are inexplicably deep, tenderness to that only a handful of my blood family share. In the way some kids grew up in a city or rural town with their close family, I grew up with misadventures across Hong Kong and China, St Petersburg and Amsterdam, Turkey and Portugal.

Winter in Edinburg Scottish Highlands Loch Ness Edinburgh Castle

Kids start primary school with a few friends from the neighborhood, I began feeling foreign and strange, missing my best friend from Edinburgh. In the way the old folks have kick-knacks on shelves that “No, don’t touch that, it’s fragile” we have Zambian wooden carvings, Russian dolls, Indian drums and Moroccan cushions. It was much as part of our family as religion is to others’. Just as my family settled down, and Time in Oz > Time Overseas, and our world shrank to ours and the neighboring state and travelling became a distant dream, we took off for 2 months in Indonesia. My sister and I, who barely remembered more than lingering fragmented memories of Before, truly discovered budget travelling with a backpack. It completely opened our eyes, our conscious minds, to how wonderfully easy it all was, to catch a plane or a boat or a bus to wherever your finger landed on a map. Especially if you took the cheapest option and paid attention when the locals started haggling. Not only was this incredible adventure more economical, it was more real. We learnt the language and met people and went to the least-visited tourist sights. I think it had the most effect on my littlest sister, who was 3 the first time, 6 the second. We made sure to show her, when we flew over the coast of Darwin, to explain how we weren’t in Australia anymore, and she took to it all like a duck to water. Watching your country fade by, with the scuttle of clouds under sky more impossibly blue than you’ve ever seen before…it gives you a profound message of exactly how small the world really is, how easy it is to find your place in a brand new city with fragmented communication – smelling and hearing and seeing things more vividly than you thought possible. Your senses go into overdrive when you travel, you learn to drop ingrained expectations and habits, to adapt to new (or less) road rules, to manners and reactions in everyday interactions, to savor everything that is new, different or even slightly the same.

Kid by the Boats Lush Greenery at 70 km/h Classic Architecture in Bali
And this is doubly the case when one travels by oneself to the other side of the world. To be completely alone, and completely free, in a completely alien environment…it is one of the most incredible and indescribable life changing experiences. When everything, down to the weeds in the cracked pavement, the direction of traffic, the language on the tv’s, the clothes, the music, the buildings and the weather are utterly brand new, the metaphor of soaking things in on a wonderful family holiday is akin to playing in the rock pools and then being swept out to the ocean in a storm. You see so much, you don’t have time to absorb a fraction of what you’re hearing, everything that was your bedrock of support – lost at sea. It’s a psychological onslaught combined with an ecstatic sensory input. The textiles and aromas from crafts that are a blend of Incan and European worlds, ocean, sierra, rainforest and desert climates – waterfalls and glaciers that went thousands of meters in every direction.

Living with teenagers who only knew a tiny square of the universe, so small and yet so rich with heritage and history, showing clearly in their eyes and their blood. And then there were others, explorers like myself, who understood the joy of flight and the thrill of travel – and bonding with them, sharing our adventures with like-minded spirits, together from so many places in a moment of coincidence. It was 12 months of magic, 2012; a Balinese Christmas and a germanic Argentine Easter, India on the phone and Bolivia across the river, where I never stayed in the same place for more than 8 weeks solid, travelling from almost the Antarctic circle to within the tropic of Capricorn…and when I went home, my world shrank to a 50 km radius. Ire turned back to my secure family, friends who had never left the city and going to the beach 15 minutes away a special occasion.
Skyline of my beloved Cordoba The Igazu Falls. Sheer awe-inspiring magnificence. 300 year old remnants of spanish missionaries Buenos Aires at night Bariloche, in the foothills of the Andes Los Caballeros celebrating in the Intersection La Boca, Buenos Aires The Puerto Marino Glacier, in all it's icy glory Northern Markets in the Hills of Salta Guitarists that we were, in a cross-cultural group session

When you travel, you are bombarded by the majesty of the chaotic life on earth, until you learn to adjust your sails and navigate the winds of the universe. Your mind expands more, than you ever thought possible, to span oceans and languages and cultures – you see how much more there is to the world. How much more there is to living.

Dreaming

It’s easy to forget, sometimes. My world, that is. The rooms around me feel so arbitrary, a safe house, a still point in time – a place of dormancy between journeys, where nothing truly remarkable happens. It is merely a space that can be relied on, for its simple existence. Home, the shell which holds us, a location of healing and preparing, of resting…and waiting.

Still ’round the corner there may wait/ A new road or secret gate;
And though I oft have passed them by/ 
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run/ 
West of the Moon, East of the Sun

It’s easy to lose your sense of presence here, because how could you focus on the stillness when you know what is happening?
Babies are being born and old grandmothers are speaking fierce words to their loved ones – people are risking their lives to save those who cannot save themselves, young ones are learning, expanding their minds, dreamers are dreaming, adventurers are adventuring, people are dancing, writing music, poems, inventing and discovering, crossing uncharted rainforests, taking specimens from the floor of a volcano, looking for life on the bottom of the ocean – a million languages are being spoken, a thousand cultures are breathing…

I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again – cross the sky and seek out the Great Perhaps. One day I’m going to as free as a migratory african swallow, and I will see it all. One day I will cross the oceans, arrive at places I have only been able to dream of. One day I will shoulder everything I need to live, chase the setting sun and find new worlds. One day I will stand on top of a mountain, dance on foreign shores, look upon the face of the raw wilderness in the animal kingdom, sing exultantly under blue skies that stretch to every horizon. One day I will turn around, take a breath and say “Hello Danielle”. One day I will look on the emotive faces of those I have never known truly before. One day the future will be the present, and everything will fall into place. One day I will chase away the scattered cobwebs that stretch over my mind in the idleness of everyday life, and I shall know every inch of this beautiful, marvelous, impossible world.

But until then…I am 16 and bound to the life of school and suburbia. Until then, I study and I help my mother with chores. Until these days come, 16 months – 508 days must pass, in the sanctuary that holds me here, binds me to this small small pocket of the universe. It will be, it must be, one day I know what I will be. But for now…I am here.

A Study in Friendship

Some people may be asking; ‘Why don’t you write about any of people in your life on this blog? You certainly talk about yourself a lot.’ Well dear imaginary inquisitor, a) many of my friends know about this blog b) it’s rude and weird to discuss them on a public forum and c) petty opinions and gossip aren’t worth the screen space.

That being said, I have some really awesome friends. I’ve been privileged enough to make a lot of them, although keeping in contact with the non-English speaking ones has been more difficult than I anticipated. [Shoutout to them; ¡Perdón! Estoy escribiendo cartas a mandaros.] And, what with the combination of a writer’s and a student’s curiosity, I find my friends rather fascinating. Because I’ve known some of them for years, it’s actually fantastic, watching them grow. Watching new interactions and reactions at certain changes in our lives. Fathoming those who I don’t quite understand. Which makes me sound really creepy, but I’m not, honest 😛 Everyone’s different little idiosyncrasies make for fascinating character study – it also means I have to be careful not to personify them in my writing, which is harder than it sounds!

And everyone is so diverse. Dealing with anxiety, dealing with boy drama, dealing with not meeting the asian standard for school. Extroverts and introverts, discussing sexuality or playing toddlers, or debating with pomp and grandeur ridiculously opposing opinions on something entirely bizarre and useless. They way people circulate, react or behave around others, think about how deeply that’s influenced by their home life, their origins.

I flatly refuse to give examples that are specific enough for identification, but let me just say how awesome it is, how different we all are. Gruff girls who are secretly romantic softies but don’t you dare say so in public 😉 Arrogant boys who are insecure, and then watching some of them strengthen. Or when the nuances of a friends grey moral policing is explained. Hearing other people’s incredibly divergent childhoods, in London or rural south america or slums of poverty. Or, what about the concepts that hold weight in their decision making – I know friends who have spent their life as the smartest kid in their town, another who doesn’t know the meaning of hope – or can you imagine living life without any sense of security? Growing up being told that a fundamental part of you was wrong. Or having an incredible aptitude for art or guitar, that they always had. Or someone who’s core values were so opposed to mine that we spent a year arguing, a year banging heads until both of us learnt and changed drastically. Watching little ones grow from babbling toddlers to serious pre-teens.

People are fascinating. My friends are intriguingly wonderful. And I hope that compliment is huge enough so that they don’t mind my curiosities! 😄

Minds; Across the Universe

(A/N: Dug this out from an old draft and thought, what the hell, I’ll post it anyways.)

“So. I’m on this bus trip across southern Patagonia with 20 or so people right now, and aside from the spectacular sights and stuff to see and experience (we haven’t gotten to that part yet) its rather interesting. Just because no one aside from the bus driver is over the age of 30, 95% of us being between 15 – 18 and the same percentage having grown up and lived the majority of their lives on other continents. There’s 2 chicks from Canada, some Kiwi’s, 2 Swede’s, some from Switzerland and Finland, and a whole bunch from Deutschland. I am the only Australian – in fact I haven’t met a fellow countryman since I left it in February, which is…an experience. And all this is fascinating from a socialistic viewpoint, in the way we’ve all grown up in completely different worlds. And yet we’re all together, 3 continents, worlds, lives, united on an alien one. (We’re all exchange students, in case you need pieces put together.) For one thing, they say plenty beforehand how many people you’ll meet and bond with, people in another country, but dude, you sorta assume it’s gonna be the locals they’re referring to. 😛 Because you don’t realize until you’re eagerly chatting with other travelers, how easy it is to connect with other people who are doing the exact same thing as you. Who fly, see the world, have adventures like you do, and know in person how truly fantastic it is too.

The socialistic part I mentioned before though, was about how you may be going along a similar journey in life, but all of our paths are so completely different it’s quite fascinating, for me at least, comparing all the differences. You read about these things, get it in theory, but until you really Get Out There, your mind doesn’t realize there are those who live their lives, childhoods in a world with as little as 4,000 people, or as many as 4 million. Farms and mountains and israel and moose & penguins & bears & whales & koalas being commonplace – the bare environment affects a personality more than you’d think. Especially when said environment is completely alien to the environment theyre currently in. For many of us, seeing the wide glittering blue ocean after 4-9 months, living in what is about as hilly and dry and as inland can we get, was quite an emotional experience. This is when we start to really sympathize and understand the lores and poems of our forefathers, when they spoke of their love for their country, the lands and landscape of their home.

But I’ve rambled. What the main idea of this was more about the culture, and how much influence you don’t even realize is there. You don’t see these things when you grow up in the same 100 sq kilometers all your life, everyone has the same influences and life habits. That’s great, but we need a wider scope for comparison. Many of the things that define you, haven’t even been realized consciously. The food, the manners and habits that are polite or expected, the holidays, the languages spoken, the immigration rates, the music and brands common…your family and lifestyle is one of the huge and yes most important but, like I said before, your environment and the world you adapted to has adapted you to fit it, quite subtly and deeply.

My case and point sit in the seats of this double decker bus around me. (To those who are a part of this trip and read this, I honestly don’t mean to offend I’m taking a purely intellectual and detached viewpoint here.) There’s over a dozen of us and it’s funny how patterns follow unconsciously in these social groups.
To start with, clearly those who are of the same country have a bond immediately. Even if it’s as far apart as east and west coast, or even if they’re completely different types of people, there are some things which can only be known or appreciated by those in your home country. And naturally languages too, the german and austrian and swiss have a fantastic time talking in very fast German to each other. [Icht ferurun nicht – I understand nothing] 😛 But it’s more than that, subtler and deeper – beyond countries and languages. Because the Canadian chicks get on great with the Kiwi’s and no matter how much the South African girl had laughs comparing the similarities in languages with the Germans, she and moi the Aussie chatted so much more. There was a Brazilian girl and a girl from New Zealand who became incredibly close friends in a short amount of time. These are entirely different continents, far and away from each other, but something in the similarities draws them together, isn’t that interesting? Because then you get a girl from Montana, USA, who has an entirely different way of being to the girls just kilometers above the border, and then there’s the differences in the French and the Italian and English, the Indian and Chinese and Russian. Haven’t gotten them all in the same room together though… 😛 This is why its extremely difficult bordering-on-illegal to experiment on people, right?

I do hope you’ve seen some patterns in my musings on human nature, to do with how interesting patterns form, how we’re unconsciously drawn to people like ourselves in ways, how even sharing an ocean or common immigration patterns can make another foreigner feel closer to you. Obviously there’s buckloads behind the personality and presentation – a particularly funny guy from Sweden laughs loads with the Canadian-French girl. So it’s a mix really, of minds and worlds and such subtle influences it’s hard to see where patterns end and imagination begins 😛 But searching and trying to figure out why and how and more, oh isn’t it fascinating? Humans never change but, why do we, there’s already so many possibilities and intricacies in the variation we have!

Afterthoughts: University is going to be a killer
😛 I could study this and half a dozen other subjects that are equally as fascinating (anthropology, languages, physics, music, biology, engineering) for the rest of my life in bliss. Hey, this is my blog, I am allowed to express as much lifescience as I like 😛 Sure it could be a type of diary about every day things, but I’ve already got 4 of those that I’ve written in!”

Of Truth, Reality and Life

What is truth? What is reality? People have asked these questions for hundreds of years, thousands of generations of searching and yet, we don’t know – do we? The minute we try to capture time ,it slips away from us, each second lost even as we process them. Think you can trust the solid earth beneath your feet? We’re clinging to the surface of a pea, hurtling through the universe, held together by laws of momentum and gravity, things too big and too small for us to properly even imagine. Everything we thought we know and believe is true, it’s a lie. Everything will burn one day, whither and die and be lost in the passing of time, everything is incredibly temporary.

I wonder often though; Is knowing all this good? How can we know the facts we’re discovering are real, not just the latest in flawed hypotheses. They believed that the earth was flat for thousands of years, and that seemed perfectly logical. And why shouldn’t it? We’re not gods, watching the universe it all it’s magnificence unfold. We are so small, in such a small world, so blind and dim and fumbling still, full of stupidity and mistakes, destruction in the name of creation.

And yet…we are more than just that. We dare to see beyond what our forefathers dared, we go even further with our minds and bodies and souls. We can never know all there is to know, and yet we keep trying. Isn’t that incredible? We never stop, never cease trying, because we want to know what’s out there, whats out there to know. We are barely learning to look after after ourselves and yet we’re making hops and skips and leaps and bounds all over in the most ridiculous places. We’re reaching for the stars, at the same time we’re fighting to keep half our world from being destroyed and/or dying. Life truly is full of contradictions, isnt it? What one person may know as the true word of god, the truth meaning behind a painting, another woman has a completely different and completely true knowledge and idea of the same subjects.

What is space, what is sound, what is time? And in the end, who really cares? It’s not as if we’re able to be certain of the answers anyway! Searching and discovering is wonderful, but remember that it could all be a complete fantasy, a ruse and completely invalid. I think if people went through life with more of that mentality people would take things less seriously, lead better lives, find something new, something good. Because there’s always something more to find.