In the midst of the packing frenzy, at times I think about how little time I've given myself to say goodbye to Sydney.
I wondered a couple of days ago: am I being fair to us? We've had three and a half years together, packed to bursting with intense memories. Don't we deserve a little more time to linger?
The answer, I've decided, is no. I will fill this last week in Sydney with good things to remember, but I don't have to go out of my way to remember what's past. I've lived with a reasonable amount of purpose and presence in each day, and the things I'll miss most can't be recovered with new visits anyway, because they're filled with precious people and times that I can never bring back in this life.
Maybe I'll dig up a picture from time to time, and tell you the story so you'll have a better grasp of what the past three and a half years here have been for me. I've never divulged very much here before; the full unedited story has always been reserved for my private journal.
It might be a picture like this, taken in October 2009.
There had been some rough news over that past weekend, about the sudden and tragic death of a relative. Also, I was contemplating the imminent conclusion of my Master's and where I'd go next. Unhelpful comments had been made by the people I trusted most at that time to give me emotional and spiritual guidance, and I felt unsupported, misunderstood, unsafe.
On that day, I left home long before class was to begin and took a huge detour to a lookout at my favourite beach.
A beach that my cousin once described as "unpleasantly turbulent", even on the most placid summer's day.
Maybe that's why it's my favourite beach.
Because maybe as deep calls unto deep, turbulent calls unto turbulent.
Every time there is something to celebrate, something to ruminate, anything at all that gets me out of the infuriatingly complacent plodding rhythm that sometimes overtakes my life, I find myself at Tamarama.
On this day in 2009, shaken by the news of my relative's unexpected death and confused about my own life's path, I found an empty pavilion and sat. The waves rose and curled and slapped each other around; I sat. They peaked and cast themselves onto the sand; I sat. I sat until the anger and apprehension had settled; until it seemed the ocean had taken all of my unrest to spend on more rising and curling, peaking and casting.
And then I walked away and drove to class, another day closer to where I want to be.
And the waves, they're still rising high and crashing hard, so I know I don't have to.