I’m staying in a tree house above an art gallery in Woollahra, Sydney. It’s a beautiful old art-deco building with high ceilings and dark oak trims. Black and white photographs and inky sketches sleep peacefully in lovely wooden frames on chalk-white walls. Nothing bad would ever happen here, it radiates warm creativity like the heart of a good man. My body wants to curl into every pillow, corner and shape. At night-time the rainwater melts with the evergreen leaves and they playfully caress each other against the windows. The streets are still and all I can hear is the rain, the trees, and the breath of the gent sitting next to me.

On my first night we drive along the New South Wales coastline. He holds my fingertips and walks me along the cliff towards a lighthouse where we sit on the windowsill of an aged sandstone house and gaze at the swell of the sea.

The ocean is a mortal of her own here. She is an emotional combustion of passion and sentiment, swelling her feelings as if she has taken on all the hurt of the world. I watch as she tries to place each detonation in a place of calm while the young waves roll right and left, ticking and halting, busy like lost ghosts. Sometimes they break and go the wrong way and she roars, the little waves have no idea which way to go, I just want to guide them all in the same direction like little ducklings.

The sea is exasperated and animated, playing with the nonsense waves like they are her children, trying to keep an eye on all of them, as they fracture, tumble and collide. And I see the mother in her, I see safety, and how she is also the harbour, gently setting each ship in it’s allotted place. I watch her in awe. To me, she is danger and shelter breathing as one, and I am quietly fascinated with her position in the world and could stare at her forever.

I feel naked here. It is a little overwhelming, I can’t digest the speed beauty is soaring at me. I’m not used to it. I feel dizzy. It was only an hour ago that my world was grey. My new heart is cautious, and this profound prettiness is making me shaky. I wish it were easier to say to someone “I need time” Yet in the moment, it is so hard to say the things you really want to say, you end up acting smutty or vague, when all you really want to say is “This is so beautiful, but I’m a little scared, I’ve just left a battle-field.”

Hello salty sea
I do like your new
kindred eyes,
may I stay a while

Just until my shy feet
warm to you?


s sansom

Paris, France

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