walking slowly downhill
Eighty-third Day, December 4, Melbourne
Sydney Road on an early summer’s day.
Each time I visit this part of Melbourne I am astonished at how it keeps changing.
It used to be full of Italians, Maltese and Greeks.
They’re all long gone, or at least most have left.
The last ten years have seen many families from the Middle East, from African and Asia settle here.
It’s another Melbourne, and there are many of them.
Melbourne is now many cities in one.
I am also made up of many cities.
My great-grandmother on my father’s side was Spanish; Emilia Retez from a small town near Barcelona.
My mother’s ancestry is mitteleuropean; and she herself asserted all her life that her ancient ancestors were the Vikings.
Who am I?
I walk down Sydney Road and I am comfortable with everything I see, hear and feel that isn’t Anglo-Celtic.
Yet we are all here because of the eighteenth century’s British colonial expansion.
Yet ‘walking slowly downhill’ only exists in the form it does because I have been graciously granted permission to walk the banks of the longest river in the continent by those who have been here for close to sixty thousand years before any of our millennial ancestors even knew this vast land existed.
So what keeps calling me to Italy, when I am so many?
The illusion of home.
And in the end it might just be the inside of a Viscount caravan.
The outside too.