There was no ice and no snow, it was a different kind of winter wonderland. But the air still had that crisp, clean quality, and the light still made everything sparkle. The dust had been washed away from the night before, and the feeling was that of calm, serenity, a place where everything lived and worked together in peace.
It was nice to know that there was some where I could go where the world was as we all desired, a world without the oppressiveness of human touch. A world where we as humans fight to keep untainted.
The ground was dappled with sunlight, and the breeze was scented with eucylytpus, pine, and the wet ground, which squelched beneath my feet. I could hear the rustling of leaves in the tree tops fused with the sound of water trickling over rocks and fallen branches.
The only thing to enhance this already perfect eden was the presence of the local wildlife. As I walked, I took in the atmosphere, the sights, sounds and smells and noted in the progress of my walk a vast accumulation of birds: Galahs, rosellas and cockatoos, both black and sulphur crested. But, hand in hand with this came the koalas.
This is why I love Australia, it goes from one extreme to another. From dry red dust, to green lush rainforest and bush land, and edged by topaz blue oceans encrusted with sparkling white sand beaches.
Australia is a mix of cultures, full of idiosyncrasies, and over flowing with unique nature, and beauty found no where else on this earth.
I did this sketch in 2008, when I undertook a placement as a student nurse in the clinic in Ntaria, an Aboriginal community, 1.5hrs from Alice Springs.
I have travelled most of my life, and have never really had somewhere to call ‘home’ by most people’s idea of the term. I suppose up until recently I always though of ‘home’ as some where you grew up, created childhood memories that melded into those formed as a teenager.
I have had places like that, but lately I have prescribed more to the idea that ‘home is where you hang your hat’, it is anywhere loved ones are, any where you feel comfortable; and as such I can truly say I have more than one home.
“Sadly I roam, Still longing for de old plantation, And for de old folks at home.”
This quote from Stephen Collins Foster, is perhaps the way I felt about home for a long time. At the age of 18 I left home with a desire to better myself, a screaming need to help others. I had the romantic idea in my head that I would go away for a while, and come back a new person, almost in the same tones as Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina.”
At 18, in an unknown, unfamiliar country and environment, home was where I had grown up; and at 18 I missed it desperately! I longed for familiarity, but was afraid to return. I was afraid of the changes I had not been part of and afraid of the experiences I had missed that had been so much a part of everyone else’s lives.
What, I did not embrace at the time was change, and those amazing changes that had happened to me in that time. I came home, and wondered who these people were whom I had left behind. I felt lost, and was saddened by the fact that the ‘home’ I had left behind was no longer my home. I was lost and alone.
It took time, and more travel for it to finally occur to me that, I could make where ever I was at any given time, my home. Now, I feel at home in many different places. Home is where I live most of the time surrounded by my things, where I can be alone and be myself without fear of recrimination.
Home is where my family are, where I feel loved. Where I can find peace, and come to heal with the help of the warmth, love and advice from my family.
Home is not a physical place, it is a feeling. It is like slipping on a comfy old jumper. It is that warmth that envelops you, like sitting in front of a fire having spent the day in the icy cold. That feeling that embraces you when you walk in somewhere.
It is hard to describe, like a velvet curtain that slips down over you, soft and comforting. It is that warmth that tingles its way over your body, warms you to the core. It does not happen in just one place.
This is home to me. I don’t have a home, I have many, and I revel in this thought. I have so many places I can go and feel at peace and loved, and be myself without fear of recrimination.
I no longer fear change, I embrace it! I still fear loneliness, but I know that as long as I see home the way I currently do, I will never really be alone.