i would like to write about hobart, city of my birth, to which i have returned after 25 years.
i wish you could know how i feel both embraced by this city and like i am being regurgitated simultaneously. how to put words? like i am home, but i am not meant to be here. this duality permeates every aspect of my life here, like my entire state of being is in literal contradiction at any given moment. i have access to all emotional states at all times, dictated by the shadows, the light on the river, the dusk on the mountain, the call of the wind, the ghosts of this and that street. kunanyi watches my every move, from my desk in this moment to my daily commute and my corridor and courtyard of my workplace; my moody guardian hiding behind every rooftop, appearing in new and dynamic apparitions. it lets the weather happen to it, unmoving. it annoys me, because it reminds me of myself. as any monolith, i sit like a rock, and let the wind and rain of life sculpt me, and i do not care, because i am rock. but do something kunanyi! you are so frustratingly stubborn!
the weight of the immensity of watchful rock is contradicted by the peace of the derwent, a constant friend, i find. when kunanyi is moody with me i look to the derwent to sooth my qualms. i feel an entirety of peace from the water, like i have found everything i have ever been looking for within that expanse of liquid. i recognise my depth in the derwent, and though i fear water, i find relief in imagining i am such, free from the shores of this brutal and contradicting island off of an island at the bottom of the world.
just when i find solace in water, the sun clears a cloud and bears down on all my vulnerabilities like a spotlight, nibbling at my doubts, ego challenging ego to a dual. there is nowhere to hide. a cold wind and a hot sun dance a passionate paso doble, igniting feverish sensations on skin. i call it ‘spicy’ because i don’t know another word suitable, and have never experienced such a sensation anywhere but here.
the four elements are a posse intruding upon any attempt at equilibrium. they are a panel of well spoken judges, ready and willing to make comment on your victories and failures. they see it all, on the stage of hobart city, on which every resident must perform their most personal choreography.
and the elemental posse awakens daily the ghosts it has haunted for several centuries, and they continue to dance their attempted choreographies before death stole their moves. in a state of dismay, i imagine, they wander the streets, or haunt the trails to the summit of the mountain trying to reach some sort of heaven. i feel pained by their presence, restricted and reserved by their layers of grief reaching across time. their grief of stolen culture, stolen community and the convict grief of extradition to a foreign and scary dreamland. if i weren’t so sensitive to land vibrations i wouldn’t much feel the ghosts, but i do, and you might too if you’re here for long enough to tune in. the weight of history hangs in the air it seems, and manifests for me as a daily burden that must be alleviated through some meditated thought of repentance.
many locals, upon first meeting and many meetings after that, appear to have just woken from a strange dream, and are in a weird state of uncertainty and aloofness. and so i wonder what has become of me so far? i am a quagmire of mixed emotion in a new experimental southern recipe. in this city i have awoken to the dual nature of existence, i suppose. i now know that astounding beauty can been witnessed in concurrence with hallucinations of a grotesque history, that i can feel both hot and cold at the same time, that i can feel homely and alienated in a manner of minutes, that all states of being are accessible and free to be moved through at a whim. i suppose hobart has in fact reminded me of the unity of all things, and for that i hate its authoritative teachings, and love it too.