Friday 19 January 2024

Getting to know you

 Since we moved into our new house near the river, I have been taking walks in the morning or evening to get to know the area. I am getting to know some of the familiar sights: the neighbour who puts out a bowl of homegrown cucumbers for passersby to take, the driveway decorated with chalk drawings by local children, the people catching crabs in the river. Even some of the dogs taking their owners for walks are becoming recognizable. I am getting to know this place, its characteristics and the other creatures who call it home.

Last week, as I walked by the river, I found myself asking a strange question. Is this place starting to get to know me? Is it possible for a place to know you? Certainly the people and the other creatures have this capacity, but what about the trees, the river, the rocks? 

I took this photo of myself down by the river last week and, afterwards, realised the shirt I was wearing. I bought it at the Coldplay concert last year. The message, 'Everyone is an alien somewhere', had a certain appeal and truth that saw me wanting to add it to my wardrobe. I felt like an alien in this foreign place. No one had caused me to feel this way. It was simply unfamiliar and unknown.

I can't explain how, but I feel that this place is beginning to embrace me and include me as part of the ecosystem. Each day as I walk I feel less alien-like and more at home. It has been important for me to get to know this land and this waterway, but I feel the country is also getting to know me. As I take time and notice my surroundings, the paths I walk are inviting me to engage more. 

I have entered into a relationship with this place which is still young and fresh. I am no longer an alien in this place.

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