We stayed in Port MacDonnell from Wed 9/1/13 to Fri 11/1/13. My narrative reached a turning point there.
Now, you may go there and state: “but there is nothing here” and to the naked eye you might be right. But, it was just the exact amount of nothingness I needed.
In over two years I have never felt at ‘home’ in Australia. Everything is foreign to me – the grass, trees, sunshine, vast blue skies, smells, sounds, light, air, animals, insects, brand names, cultural references, and dialect are all othering to me. I embrace the difference, even though it is opposing, it is comforting in its opposition.
I had a moment. One of those my life fits moments. They don’t happen very often but when they do – you recognise them. You might smile, cry, sigh, or take a deliberate breath. You know what I’m talking about.
As we arrived in Port MacDonnell I saw: Irish style bungalows, a stone coastal wall, a choppy sea. I smelt salt and seaweed on the breezy air. I felt wrapped up in an Ireland in Australia. We entered a little town that is a mixture of the Rush and Skerries of my youth. I got out of the car and I felt tears prickling my eyes. I walked down to the sea. I noted the footpathless bungalowed subdivisions on tarmacadamed streets. I recognised the houses: red & yellow brick, weatherboard, crazy stone, white washed, and plain old cement. Then, the haphazard walls, lack of walls, and crumbling fences. I touched the familiar grass and moss at the foreshore. I fingered the known reeds lightly. I inhaled deeply. I exhaled purposely. I saw sand. I watched the waters. Looking at the cornflower blue sky indistinguishable from sea at the horizon — I shed no tears. For the first time, in Australia, I felt at ‘home’. My soul smiled. I knew in those moments I was exactly where I was meant to be. Place was reinvented in me.
I had travelled the furthest distance from my native home and I was encompassed by smallness, vastness, the continuum of space, place and time, and a love of the ocean.
Feeling comfortable with your own mortality is rare and fleeting. I cherished it. I will always cherish those singular moments in my life.