It was all those boats that really did it. They really dropped the penny for me.
I was simply running through the Half Moon Bay marina on one of my early morning runs when something about the time and place – the light perhaps or a smell of sea? – reminded me. Not only of the Brighton marina on the other side of the world where I spent a fun couple of nights in October with a friend, but of that time long ago when we met the Brisbane family who were sailing around the Pacific. My father was taken with their adventurous spirit, and invited them back to our house in nearby Howick for a BBQ and, no doubt, a beer or two.
“I’d love to do that,” he told me after delivering the family back to their yacht moored in the marina that night. I knew what he meant. Even then, at ten, I was dreaming of travelling the world.
And that’s exactly what I did. Eventually.
No, we didn’t sail around the Pacific, or survive a shipwreck Robinson Crusoe style, but I did set out for the other side of the world with the three kids in tow. I was up for adventure, and thankfully so were they.
As I ran past the yachts the other day I remembered. I was once that child, that adventurer, and now….somehow being here, in this place at this time, seems right. Full circle. Serendipitous, synchronous.
I hadn’t intended coming back here to the Eastern Suburbs where I lived as a child, in fact I’d been hunting for a house closer in towards the city, in St Heliers or around the Eastern Bays, where we used to live when my kids were young. But after a good few months of vainly looking I realise I had to widen my search. I was looking at this place when I went to Brighton. Listening to the yachts steel screaming on their moorings in the stormy wind whipped in straight from the Channel, I was reminded of the boats at Half Moon Bay, and was prompted to enquire about renting this house.
It amuses me now that I can sit in bed at night and watch the traffic lights phase from green to red at the top of my old street, in St Heliers, way across the dark Tamaki River. It fills me with a sense of completion. A phase of my life finished, a new phase yet to begin.
Synchronous, full circle.
There’s been a whole series of signs and wonders. At the girls’ new school today the receptionist had a screensaver of Scarborough, my Englishman’s town. The careers advisor admired Miss Fliss’ anime drawings and piped up with ‘you know there’s an anime drawing club here,’ Miss Fliss promptly coloured and burst into tears.
All these synchronous events are reassurance of a life rhythm. They provide meaning, however obscure and difficult to translate into a faith or credo, a meaning nonetheless. A general sense of knowing that we are on the right path…
They’re like the breadcrumb path through a forest of doubt.
And another thing…my Uncle, my Mum’s only brother died on the weekend leaving her alone in this world, save for her daughters. In the midst of sadness I like to think that Uncle John planned his itinery into the afterlife carefully. A true colourful Aussie bloke, he was keen on a beer and his beloved racing.
No coincidence then that he left his passing for that most sacred of days – Saturday: race day.
And not just any Saturday, but one after Christmas, after I had returned to the Southern Hemisphere, which means that I can fly over to Brisbane tomorrow to my grieving Mum, and his much loved ‘Bella’ can have both of her daughters by her side.
Or as much a sign of synchronicity as this sunset sign..
Have you ever experienced a series of events that seem to just fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle?
NB/ Rest in peace Uncle John. You didn’t go quietly into that good night. You ‘raged, against the dying of the light.’