For the last few weeks I have had freedom – freedom from assignments, textbooks and endless hours studying in order to gain a post-graduate teaching qualification.
And during those wonderful weeks of freedom I have had time to reflect upon a life once lived. And a good life it was. Flying around the world, partying in Paris, having slings in Singapore and lunching in LA.
But as the saying goes; all good things must come to an end. And so with wings clipped and and a life now lived with feet firmly planted on the ground, I thought a flying photo essay (the type of essay I prefer) was in order.
Just over 20 years ago, my life and that of my family was forever changed when my first child was born with a severe heart defect.
Meg underwent a number of surgical procedures but sadly, she lost her fight at 16 months old.
Despite the overwhelming sadness that enveloped my world when she left, her being, beauty and courage left an imprint on my being that can never be erased. The weeks following her passing I came across these beautiful words written by another grieving mother.
When tragedy strikes your life you can choose to be one of two things: bitter or better. I choose better.
I allowed those words to nurse my grief and to this day, I still repeat them often for they ring true. When life delivers a harsh blow, we cannot be bitter for it achieves little. Rather, whilst I will never fully recover from Meg’s loss, I do however choose to be better from having had her in my life – if only for a short time.
A few weeks ago I was browsing through the album I created for her and decided to reproduce those images and display them here as a tribute to her.
Quite simply, I love Europe. But I am also an Australian, which as you are probably surmising, would be somewhat problematic when wanting to indulge that love. However for many years I worked as an international flight attendant, serving the masses from overloaded trolleys whilst hurtling across oceans in a sleek, silver tube, bound for new adventures.
Needless to say this employment allowed me to partake in a number of my own, off-duty adventures. Not all were in my beloved Europe, nonetheless, they all offered adventure of various description of which I documented in a blog I no longer use – in particular a few wintery weeks driving through regions of France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Rather than let documented moments that were filled with mayhem and hilarity, yet also quiet contemplation melt into cyberspace, I have re-posted here.
Feel free to read on – maybe grab a wine or coffee as it could take awhile…
A friend said to me recently: ‘think about where you want to be in 5 years, then figure out how best to get there…’. On hearing his words, I did not need to think about where I wanted to be, for I already knew.
In 5 years I shall be sitting in a cafe in Paris, sipping a good Pinot whilst watching Parisian life stroll by.
On finishing my wine, I return to my apartment and take a moment to gaze upon the array of red chimney tops that adorn the abundant rooftops. Atop the small table that occupies the space beneath the open window, pots of brightly coloured flowers sit alongside fresh herbs of which I use to excite my cooking. In the small yet quaint living room, an overstuffed sofa bed bought from a second hand store, waits for my two grown sons who are soon to arrive. I am excited at the prospect of time soon to be spent with my beautiful children, who are, and always will be my greatest achievement.
My French is now reasonable and in the last years I have trekked the Annapurna Circuit, floated in the Dead Sea and gazed in wonder at the natural beauty of the Northern Lights. I have spent time teaching in foreign lands and broadened my knowledge in photography.
I ponder where I have left footprints and find I have no regrets, for I have lived and am now living, life…
Having made a positive change in my life, I am now a silent and content witness to watching life unfold, through routines that are complete and solid in nature. Free to now shape my own routine, I fall easily in step with the established routine of others.
He walks with bowed legs, his crooked stick aiding those crooked legs. His smile is wide and giving, shining its light upon those who share his morning. His frayed cap, obviously well-loved is tipped ever so slightly, a silent acknowledgment of my presence with his.
He runs; panting, sensing and sniffing his well-travelled path. A worn, tattered rope connecting her to him keeps him close and without flight. She too smiles and bids me good morning.
They are there with me, sharing routines.
As I walk, Regret does not walk alongside me. There is simply happiness and fulfilment for having chosen a routine that is reflective of who I am and who I have always needed to be.
Recently a friend asked me to shoot some images for her Cosplay character, Alice. As we all know, Alice travelled between two worlds and therefore I thought it would be somehow fitting (albeit a little left of centre) for this week’s challenge .
On seeing this week’s photo challenge I thought of time spent driving through the French Alps with my son, Rob. After pulling over to take a few shots of the scenery, a little dog appeared. He didn’t bark, he didn’t protest our presence: he simply watched and waited.