Diogenes (404-323 BC) was a Cynic and even though he lived in a dog house, he called himself ‘citizen of the world’. In today’s increased mobility and connectivity, we can all be citizens of the world, virtually and actually. Except reality is that we are citizens of one country, maybe two, but always only one if you are Danish.
Sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to take a wrong step on a ledge high up and plummet through the air to the earth? Don’t worry, I am not suicidal and I don’t have a death wish, but what of the adrenalin rush, when the foot steps onto nothing and the hands grasp and clutch at free air, that moment before you let go and gravity makes the inevitable happen. I can almost feel the chemistry of the shock.
A migrant has two countries – the one they left behind and their new country. As I experience the underlying sense of being split, having two homes, but belonging in neither, my thoughts go to refugees, who did not make the choice of leaving their first countries entirely out of free will. What sort of belonging to place do they experience?
This weekend I was reminded of what I love most about Australia – its vast natural beauty. With a couple of friends, Mick and I went to Binna Burra, a heritage listed resort in Lamington National Park on the Gold Coast Hinterland.
Suddenly, the wind came from the west and brought interior cold gusts with it. Wind from the bare outback, the great big red centre of nothing, but a large rock and a few, very small communities, each 100 km from nothing. Sometimes this wind brings red dust with it, but today the wind seems to only bring cold. Last week Brisbane had temperatures up to 30 degrees and unseasonal rain that caught us by surprise, but on Saturday morning it suddenly changed. Like nature realised with a jolt that it was winter.
Just under a year ago I lost my father. I know, it happens all the time – the inevitable consequence of living is dying, and it happens every day, every moment, all the time. But I still miss my father: he was my last parent and an anchor in my mother country.