Thursday, 30 July 2009

A remarkable lightness of being

As the compellingly craggy Lloyd Rees drew to the end of his long life, his eyesight dimmed to a perception of light - and this is what he transferred to the canvas. There are some heart-stopping renditions of Sydney Harbour, September Sun being one. Chugging across the top of the harbour swell and through the wake of vessels gone before me, the sun and the salt combine to heighten my own perception of the light being absorbed around me.
Time is in neutral: mid-week journeymen have no need for hustle, no use for bustle. They have the patience to listen, to look, to watch and to think. Out on the deck, the breeze whistles around the collar as the shadows of the grey girders lengthen into the afternoon.
People watching is a guilty pleasure enjoyed by many at train stations and at ferry wharves. Pier 4 at Circular Quay is no exception. Woolwich service to the left: Milsons Point, McMahons Point, Birchgrove, Greenwich Point, Woolwich. Watson's Bay to the right: Garden Island, Darling Point, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Watsons Bay. We sit there absorbing the midday warmth, rocking gently with each rise and fall of the creaking wharf. We watch, smile, nod, acknowledge. A stir is caused by unattended baggage: a sign of that world out there that is not as far away as one would hope.
The massive Manly ferry departs for its 30 minute journey out to the Heads with a gradual turn to the left. The River Cat commences it hour long journey under the bridge and up the Parramatta River. Smaller vessels ply their busy trade: tugs, taxis, fire trucks, police. Larger vessels tote for trade: square riggers, floating hotels, trashy paddle steamers all ready themselves for the evening. Evening on the harbour is like black ink: the light has gone.

9 comments:

Joan Elizabeth said...

Forget the photos today, the prose is so compelling. But then again the top shot is also compelling.

You took me on a ferry ride like no other today. Thanks.

Eamon said...

Today's theme is rope, metal and wood. I'm right, aren't I?

Ann said...

I'm really enjoying your island/harbour series. You have an eye for the details that I have trouble with.

What's an SGW? Providing you clear the security scanning they are really relaxed when Parliament isn't sitting and can wander the public areas, including the Jubilee Room, if it isn't being used. You can also poke you head into both chambers (with an attendant) and if the attendant isn't busy he/she will give you a full history of the chamber. Its worth doing. They also run guided tours at regular times, I think. But if you happen to be in the vicinity just pop in and have a word to the attendant/s.

Julie said...

Mmm ... close Eamon! Toss in some stone and you have my favourite things ... especially for closeups and to set the ambience ...

brattcat said...

Excellent post, Julie.

Lois said...

Very nice post Julie. I almost feel as though I was there.

Stephany said...

I feel like I went on the ride with you. All of these are great but you will probably laugh when I say my favorites are the two photos of the rope.

altadenahiker said...

I didn't just feel like I went on the ride with you, I was there.

Julie said...

Not at all, Stephany. Details like the rope are my favourite way of adding emotion to a longer post. I have a post working up for next week about rust which you might appreciate, too.

AH: *gulp* that means a lot coming from you. Taa ...