As the coldest spring in fifty years shivers to an end in southern England, an Australian traveller readies for home. All around, the old places and nooks of Sussex prepare for the warmth to come. They whisper a single message. She is tempted, but not convinced. Then, an encounter with white swans in a dry harbour. Another, with a man in a swan-white thobe in Dubai. White is a meditation on possibilities, and the impossibility of being in two places at the same time.
“Now, as the sky hung like lead and the wind bit like a snake, people stayed in. They took tea and tipples by fires – it was no fit weather for walking. But she was Australian. In two days she would fly home to her city on the east coast with its diamond light. She would perspire into cotton and pack away her wool – so she took the difference now as a call to come out among the brown and grey, the massed daffodils, before she returned to the full and bright and insistent colours of her place on the Pacific. Here, there were storybook cottages and flitty little birds with nursery rhyme names like chiffchaff and blackcap. In Brisbane, butcher birds were opinionated, sat on windowsills and tapped on glass for attention; rainbow lorikeets screeched and flew in tribes. She would go out into the cold one last time, run her fingers over stone walls patterned with moss before returning to wooden fences warmed by the sun. If this wasn’t weather for walking, she didn’t know it.”
Ah, England. When I left you, I left an unexplored part of myself behind.
Where can I read it?
Available for publication.