I use a mirror to see myself – a camera to take pictures of myself and other people’s experiences – a notebook to write down all the events of my life – and finally through the arts to express my longing for love and fulfilment.
This aging process is challenging, pressing, losing the will to plan ahead, feeling the emptiness of lost dreams. Friends leave us or depart, and we are left with a string of memories that keep us awake at night, of precious moments filled with laughter and joy and those of grief and sadness.
I’ve come to the Sunshine Coast to take control, to mark time, to be present. When I am near the ocean, I feel that presence. Nothing is important, just to breathe the sea air, feel that volatile wind, touch the sand with the souls of my feet and merge with the salty water – feeling our ancestral fish-fins take us deeper into an embryonic fluid that feels like home.
Ipswich for me was a town that reminded me of my carefree childhood in Amsterdam, Holland.
My life in Holland was filled with the pleasantries of my Montessori Education and sense of belonging. My family life was a constant cacophony of the sensitivity of artistry and stimulation of the intellect, and the blustering drama unfolding in my father’s life of business adventures.
My life in Ipswich nurtured me as an artist, brought music and poetry back into my life through meeting with musicians and poets at festivals and concerts. It provided me with a pseudo-family of dear friends and students of life. The coloured web of artist’s creations hung in the air. Multicultural groups proudly expressed their song and dance.
And yet the ocean called me, beckoned me, to be still – to listen – to dance within.
One moment whilst walking along the shores of Golden Beach …..I saw my mother…Mammie…we were walking along the moonlit ocean together embalmed by the heavenly spheres, grasping light-heartedly for a deeper appreciation of the divine mystery of the Universe and all creatures that live upon it. I see her lying on her camp-bed, catching the sun that was only ever briefly glimpsed at during the Summers of the 1950’s in Holland. She loved the Australian sun, missed the European architecture, played her Chopin Serenades to remind her of home, and reminded us children of the importance of education but also free choice.
I am grateful for the time I spent with her upon this earth. My Mammie and Pappie died too young and left us children, as young adults, to find our own way in this foreign land. It had promised so much – better health, better opportunities for the boys, a simpler lifestyle – but without our family sanctuary we felt bereft of our Dutch family-clan.
Now that I am here, close to where my parents died, I feel I can come home. To face that stillness within me, to embrace my divine companion, to trace the arc from birth to pending death in a state where peace resides and artistry and life become one.
I am unique, I am content, I see the ‘holy grail’ of my life’s dreams.