Somewhere between Paris and Calais.
Somewhere between Paris and Calais.
Dad through the bathroom window.
From Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 45 minutes north of Copenhagen.
Anna explodes into everyÂ room.Â She is loud and she is colourful and she is warm and kind. She is the type of person who willÂ get on her knees and climb into aÂ rhododendron bush if I ask her to. Unquestioning and patient.
In fifty days I will leave London for good. For good is a goodÂ way to put it because I know I’m leaving for the right reasons and at the right time; before my love for this city withers and wanes, before I have to layer my way through another limp English winter and limp English summer.Â Before itâ€™s too late and I regret it forever.
Fifty days is not really long enough to do anything except pack my life into boxes and say goodbye to my friends. In fifty days, I canâ€™t fix anything that is broken. I canâ€™t know everything, I can’tÂ see everything, eat everything. Fifty days is not long enough to make myÂ friends’ children remember me fondly asÂ that funny friend of their parentsâ€™ who loves them. Fifty days is not long enough.
But then fifty daysÂ is just long enough for me toÂ seeÂ the last of theÂ roses that bow their heavy heads over Hackney’s doorsÂ and fences.Â To feel the fever of those rare hints of summerÂ after weeks of grey.Â It’s a chance toÂ examine an almost-decade away from Australia. To admire how far I’ve come and not just in miles. Fifty days isÂ just the time I needÂ to try and colour what my future looks like, to try to make out shapes in the darkness. To remind myself fifty times overÂ that the end of one thing means the start of another.
Sometimes at the end of a roll of film there is an accidental exposure, an explosion of colour and light. Like in theseÂ eight photos above. They are light and colour at the end of something. They are light and colour at the start of something. They are mistakes and they are achievements. They are the kindness of my friends. They are a life laid bare, they are anything weÂ want them to be. They are magical.
The end of things can be magical. The start of things can be magical. And in fifty days, they will be.
Aaron led us underground into a cave and turned on the light. The ceiling was dotted with extinguishing glow worms, exposed, gone shy. Glow worms are not worms, he told us. Glow worms are the larvae of fungus gnats, he said. They are maggots rather than worms! Would anyone care about them if they were called fungus gnats? Would you even be here! A woman shook her head but the rest of us, even the boys who’d been loudly throwing each other onto the ground in the fern-lined car park half an hour earlier, just stood silent and wide-eyed near the cave’s Great Cathedral.Â
We followed Aaron up stairs and then more stairs, further into the hollowed-out mountain. Every so often heâ€™d stop and talk about the layers and layers of rock on rock that form the earth. But this is just one theory! He said adding a caveat. You are all welcome to your own opinions. It all comes from books, after all.
One of the rocks was blackened by smoke from an old bushfire. Another contained fossils of creatures from the depths of an ancient sea. Shutters clicked open and then closed in desperate search of light.
Aaron argued with a woman in her 40s about foxes. He talked about the contagious cancer that spread from cheek to cheek of the devils that terrorise the night. And then he turned off the lights Â and we stood in darkness as the larvae of the fungus gnats glowed blue like stars in a world turned inside out.
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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.
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