61 Time To Go Home
This morning I awoke in a tangle of sheets, from lonely dreams, in a strange city where, outside my window a spire rises high from cobbled stone and cold air stings my face. The light here is soft and the sun so gentle and this city is thick with stories. I drink her in.
On my phone there is a text from my sister:
Hard to imagine a cold and beautiful country of such history and opulence as we enjoy a hot finish to our Summer….Boys have been swinging off the rope and into the Yarra River under cliffs of stone and gums. Our own ancient history, I suppose.
She would have pressed send, quite quickly. She is busy like that. Had she any idea how profoundly her words would hit their mark; how full of power and filled with shape, a voice that calls me home. I could hear her.
As I wound my way, one last time, up twisting roads and paths, barely wide enough for a car, to the Castle; and the hill; and the ancient wall and monastic garden; up to where all Prague can be seen waking in her diamond dust and morning glory, I turned my head, I heard a sound. I was sure I could catch the laugh and shouts of our boys as their bodies, taut and tense, scale the trunk, their river trunk, the one that juts so perfectly out across that twist of brown water, the bend that is their Yarra River.
From here, I can see the youngest standing on an outlining branch, one that has, over summers of use been shaped into a perfect platform from which a young boy can hold steady, can hold on and just reach - fingertips outstretched. I see him try once, reach twice, his skinny little body with jutting ribs and only now – nearly - not quite - but yes, now – does the rope decided to allow his small hand to tug it back, close to his chest, back, like the string of a bow. And the boy, with the rope in his hand, stands ready, as boys with a rope have always done. His nervous feet tiptoe gently, anxious for his moment, preparing his swing, forward back, forward back, momentum is what he needs, until his brother shouts – NOW!
And with a giggle, loaded glee, the boy pushes off the trunk and allows himself to fly and through the air he shouts and his shout carries up the gorge. It travels, bouncing from ancient rock to ancient rock, pinged from gum to gum, in and round the bends; and the kayakers hear of him; and the campers note; and the picnic day-trippers look skyward as the boy shouts and his brother, down below, looks up and fully grins and hollers - OH COME ON! or sometimes, SNAKE! if his aim is to really scare. And then, when the boy in the air maxes out his swing and feels the rope go taut once more, he lets go, he is fully air born, a moment of embodied joy and he hoots to the heavens, one last shout and it’s this cackled shout that travels the world, all the way to me sitting here as I take in a misty, mirrored Prague, one last time and I smile because for me, it is time to go. I am being called home.