cactus country

October 6, 2017

There isn't much time left. The days are winding up like thread around spool after it's been pulled too far. The ends finding knots. It's time to do those things that we said we were going to do.

This day is funny. It's always a mistake to bring expectations to the road yet I still do without fail—dreaming up a flawless sequence of events that could belong in a movie. But the unforeseen twist and turns are where the magic lurks. Or at least an interesting story and I live for those interesting stories. When things go wrong, a part of me is devastated and the other part of me is gleeful. I love it. I'm so scared of living a boring life.

The four of us have ambitious plans of leaving at 7 or 8 in the morning, but Melbourne traffic can get so congested and Maite and Alberto are coming from the South and Jerred and I are in the North so we're not on the road until after 9. I'm self-conscious but happy. Things are ending soon but I'm here with some of my favourite people and that's enough—a happy enough with a hint of sadness around the corner. It always gets like this towards the end of a chapter, when I'm on a precipice about to topple over into something new. It's like I'm at the end of a dream and it's starting to peel back around the edges.

We stop at a gas station where Maite can get some coffee. In the car, we talk a lot about the history of Spain and Catalonia and politics and socialism. I love listening to the trill of Maite's voice—the fiery way she spits out words. I'm going to miss her. The road passes by fields of yellow and Maite and I are all ohhhhh and big eyes. We stop the car, Jerr runs down the railway tracks, Maite dances up the pavement, we jump the fence and wade into sea of golden blooms. Everyone is smiling.

Alberto starts to say something doesn't feel right with the car. When he checks one of the back wheels a second time, it's going flat. And so I again find myself on the side of an Australian road watching someone change a tyre.

Maite, Jerred, and I wait near the road as Alberto goes to find a mechanic. That part of me is worrying that we'll never reach our destination and even if we, we won't have enough time and everything will be ruined while the other part of me thinks this whole day is completely hilarious.

After we reunite with Alberto and as the car waits with the mechanic, we lay down a blanket on a patch of grass between the sidewalk and the road to have a picnic. There's vegan quiche and something Jerred made (banana bread?). We must look so funny to the neighbours, sprawled out in suburbia with our treats. Maite, Alberto, and I are all travellers so I guess we're used to feeling at home anywhere. Once our bellies are full, it's back to the road, another hour to Cactus Country. What we predicted would take us three hours takes us six and the entrance fee is more than I thought but we made it. We made it.

This place is cool. There's more cacti than I've ever seen and little colourful rocks with hopeful phrases painted on them like "be grateful" and "life is a canvas".

The light fades from bright and harsh to mellow and long and subtle just as the place is closing. I wish we had more time but god, I am always wishing for more. Our drive back to Melbourne is quiet—everyone is exhausted from the length of the day and the thick heat. Jerred falls asleep with his head in my lap.

I am running out of time.

Photographs from October 2017.

sydney sun

I want to be the sort of friends who leaps—who drives miles and miles and writes long letters for every birthday. I want to be the sort of friend who arrives on a plane and gives more than she expects to receive. I want to be there for phone calls and coffee dates, for deep conversations and breathless laughter. I want to talk about how it really does suck so much sometimes and how you've got clouds in your chest and keep coughing up smoke whenever someone gets too close. I want to celebrate when things are so piercingly beautiful. I don't want to hesitate. I want to be a part of the net that catches—a piece of fabric that warms. I want to be the first to say sorry—the first to say let's go somewhere.

"I want you to be happy
Free to run, get dizzy on caffeine
Funny friends that make you laugh
And maybe you're just a little bit dappy"
(Glass Animals)

I went to Sydney to see a friend. It was one of those times when life feels good and sunny and like everything is going to turn out perfectly. Sydney was bright. I had been there once before with a boyfriend and it was special getting to explore it on my own. I walked for miles every day and ate vegan pies by Bondi and felt pretty grateful for everything. I snuck my way to the top of Pylon Lookout on the Harbour Bridge and stayed there for awhile, watching the salty blue waters and darting boats—the glistening city horizon and rows of cars. God, sometimes everything just seems possible, yknow? Like you could eat the sun and hold it shining in your belly.

These days were nice. Max and I rode the ferry to Manly Beach and I leaned over the edge to watch other people leaning over the edge. We followed the water to seaside pools and little jungles rising from the sand. Everything seemed possible. We got drunk in the city. We talked about careers and passions and photography and how wild it is that we're both here. I'm from Vancouver and Max is from California and we met in Seattle and somehow, we had both come to live in Australia for basically the same year. Two kids chasing the world, I guess. Two hungry kids chasing the light. Two kids who want to see it all.

The evening light was magical—the sun a pulsing warm beam.

Everything seemed possible.

Photographs from August 2017.