A visual diary of the year before everything changed
The sun sets on day 28 of lockdown. My small apartment is full of hastily-acquired plants, and I’ve spent an indulgent yet anxious afternoon lying in the sun on the footy oval just behind my building. Bare feet pressed firmly into the soft, lush grass, toes digging down to the damp earth. Hungry for connection. Hoping the cops will leave me in peace. Does belly breathing in the fresh air count as exercise?
On my back with my eyes closed, the heat on my face, no sunscreen. The breeze is delicious. The sound of a soccer ball being kicked, off to the right near the goal posts. The sound of a basketball hitting the court, and then the backboard, off to the left. Dogs barking. Birdsong. No planes drone overhead. No cars drive by.
I brought my camera with me when I left the house because the weather was so irresistible – perfect light, perfect temperature, no wind. But I knew that I probably wouldn’t use it. Nothing normal feels allowable in these circumstances, and I can barely see the world when I go out into it these days.
So now I sit in the dark, the warm evening air coming in through the screen door, and rather than looking through the day’s photos that I didn’t take, I attempt to write these words instead. I try to find the same treasure through language that I have found through image – through hours of walking bluestone lanes filled with rubbish and dead leaves and tumbling cascades of jasmine.
The laneways have brought me to the edge of everything I know, and then beyond that edge. Which is to say that my movements through this little corner of the city have been internal just as much as they have been external.
I’ve been doing this for years now (five, to be exact), and every year I think it might be my last. I think, this hurts too much. I think, I’ve seen it all. I think, what am I doing with my life?
Maybe I’m done. I doubt it. But for now the decision is beyond me. So I pause, and I gather, and I offer. A year in this world: mostly images, a few words. Feet on the ground, eyes wide open, heart full of wonder and sadness and joy.
A year in this world, that will be waiting for us on the other side.
– 13 April 2020