“Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don’t really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way. Ends are not bad and many ends aren’t really an ending; some things are never-ending.” ― C. JoyBell C.
I don’t like goodbyes. Goodbye’s carry with them the association of permanence. But nothing is ever permanent – not even goodbye’s. I once thought that I would have to say goodbye to my horse, who was my best friend growing up, but even now, six years later, I still find her in my life, little bits that pop up every now and again. The world goes around in a circle for a reason – nothing is ever permanent, not even the stones are set in stone for the river reshapes them or the earth swallows them to add them to her crust.
It was our last night, we had just devoured a delicious dinner of seafood accompanied by a nice glass of wine and were hanging back in our chairs to give our bellies some space when I looked outside and noticed the stars. What if?
For a moment I hesitated but then decided to look it up regardless, we only had a few hours before our flight would leave but hell, it wasn’t as if we’d be back soon. I grabbed my phone from deep down in my bag and connected to the restaurant’s wifi. It was a clear night, I didn’t need a website to tell me that, but what I didn’t know was if there was any chance of seeing the northern lights tonight. So I opened the tab which I had kept ready for weeks and there it was. 90 percent chance.
They’d been out there on the horizon; during dawn, during dusk, present as if painted on the stretched out on the far-away as the sun begun low, set higher and then sunk again. They’d been out there, looming, daunting with a coy taunt, that slight, beckoning pull that was too soft to acknowledge in reality, but too forceful to ignore.
They’d been out there, on the horizon, whispering ‘ come, come on over’ . And so we went.
The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think. Virginia Woolf.
I draw, I write – the two processes are the same to me; they help me to understand, to make connections. I have no objection to showing the drawings, but when it comes to writing I feel I don’t have the entitlement to write. I mean, publically. I don’t know the rules, English is not my first language. I write about feelings, not facts.
Writing is personal and challenging, yet I find it very gratifying – because it helps me to understand.
I hope that by being personal I can be general too, that someone will relate and we can have a conversation.
“Dad?” I can hear the click of the connection that’s been made, a throat being cleared on the other side of the line. “Dad, I wish you could see this right now. I am standing on top of the Acropolis.” I listen to my father while he ruffles some papers and all of a sudden home doesn’t feel that far away any more. “Imagine those who stood there before you,” he answered, skipping the ‘hi kid, how are you’ bit of the conversation. “I just did dad, that’s why I rang you. Remember the stories you used to tell me about Socrates and Plato?” “You were very little.” “Yeah, but still. Listen, I got to go dad. I love you.” I hang up the phone and get my arse kicked by sadness. For a minute I see my father very clearly, behind his cluttered desk, his red reading glasses on the tip of his nose. I do what I always do when I feel sad, I take a picture. If my father can’t come to the mountain, the mountain will come to my father.
By Rebecca Rysdyk
“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.” ― Tom Hiddleston
We went deep into Sherpa territory when we visited Nepal last time. “People are so focussed on Everest that they overlook the other beautiful peaks in the area,” Suman sighs. He points down at the pass that would take adventurers to the start of the trail to Everest base camp before they build an airfield high up in the mountains, one of the most challenging landing zones in the world. “Everyone just gets on a plane to Lukla nowadays, the pass forgotten.” I look at the trail, a small stripe of grey in a muddy landscape, far down the mountain we are ascending on our way to Pique. Typical. We’re all so focused on reaching our destination that the journey there hardly matters anymore. A plane flies by in the distance, it is way below us; we watch it until the sound of the engine dies out.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” ― Mark Twain
The Nepalese Hindus burn their death alongside the holy Bagmati river. The mighty river is reduced to a mere stream when we visit her. I’ve never seen something this polluted and worshipped at the same time. “This man has not been dead for more than six hours.” We give way too much money to the boy that followed us ever since we set foot in Pashupatinath, the holy temple complex, just to be alone. It is hard to be alone in Kathmandu nowadays; the people are desperate.
Our day in Liverpool ends quickly though and the next day we find ourselves on yet another ferry to Dublin, where we get our first taste of Gaelic. All the road signs are both in English as in Gaelic and I rejoice in trying to say all the words out loud. I quickly memorize the word for exit as we pass the sign at least every five minutes on the highway and I don’t think I ever stopped saying it during those three weeks.
Ireland, I haven’t seen you for a while. A couple of years it has been since my feet touched your soil, but if I think of you I hear the music playing in my head and images of roads winding under flowery skies and over green hills littered with stone hedges come to me clear as if it happened just yesterday.
It was quiet out here, too. Dead kangaroos on the side of the street. The woman at the only roadhouse between Mildura and Broken Hill only said “Yay” and nothing else. It was getting hotter and hotter, red dirt roads branched off from the main street. I got used to driving straight, taking photos out of the car, changing CDs and started to like them now, tried to practise the Spanish rolling R. There was nothing else to do than driving and waiting for something.
It always takes some time to get used to yourself again. I had spent the last two months surrounded by other travellers, started similar small talks every day with different people, and found out new things about faraway countries every other day. Now I was on my own, driving out of Melbourne, and I had forgotten how quiet and lonely it can be behind the rental car’s doors. I had forgotten what I looked like on my own. The outside rushed past without a noise like a movie on a screen with a volume turned down to silence: the trees, the houses, the heat. I had a moving room of my own, my Canon A-1 and a notebook on the passenger seat.
A quiet camp, everything is still, only a striped cat searches for some food besides the fireplace. We are waking up to cross the empty town and catch the first rays of sunshine. The desert wind is casting goosebumps on our skin while I’m taking photographs of the makhtesh. Suddenly, the weather changes: we cannot see anything but the sandy mist. A local lady stands next to the ibexes, just in the moment when they notice us, they are running away. I was wondering what happens to those born near the desert, how they change: it seems like she knows here every rock, animal, the changes of the seasons…