On the way from the airport to the center of Melbourne, after 9 hours on the plane and being greeted by a cloudy sky, my heart sank. There was nothing on my mind but an unfinished business before boarding the plane. The trip to the most prosperous and romantic city in Australia had such a start. I still can’t be a “full-time” tourist at the moment
This is probably not surprising. In a day, you often have to accept multiple roles, and find yourself inconsistent: you eat breakfast while thinking about your new work schedule for the day, napping anxiously thinking about your next appointment , and think about tomorrow while on the way home tonight. The pieces of the soul are dislocated, and we, most likely, just leave them as they are. That’s life now!
But then there will be places, like Melbourne for example, that are created as if to put those indented puzzle pieces together into a neat block, and then conveniently flatten them like a leaf, and drop them down. , let it wander with the wind. Freely.
Central Melbourne, where you can walk for hours without feeling exhausted, or bored.
Dropped my luggage, walked out of the hotel door and started walking down the checkerboard streets, and from there, I suddenly felt like a fluffy leaf. It’s like putting your worries down here for now, and let’s go. Overhead, the weather also suddenly changed: the gray clouds suddenly parted, then disappeared, as if the task of sowing a sadness in the city was over, letting the sun shine, incubating the guests’ shadows. walking…
From Bourke Street, where my hotel is located, go down a major intersection, turn into Collins Street, straight down to the famous East End arts district, it’s almost two kilometers. Normally, at this distance, you might find myself scurrying and drenched in sweat. But in Melbourne it was different: I completed the fitness “test” with ease, in the first session and in the following sessions. The weather, the clear, and the lightness are present as an element of the atmosphere of this place, making your feet so much lighter. Every now and then, the tram jingles, but I don’t really need that help.
My legs were even lighter, as I crossed a graffiti laneway of the East End, and saw a long line of hundreds of people crossing Elizabeth Street, waiting for one. Former basketball star signing autographs. There’s not the atmosphere you usually see in queues, like impatience, tension, or scowl. Young people, holding a cigarette or a drink in hand, stood smiling and chatting on the street, in a row after kilometer, inching up very slowly. I looked at them and felt impatient for them, but they themselves were very calm, sipping the wait, like a slow pleasure.
But come on, a leaf shouldn’t think too much. Dropping into a sidewalk cafe on Collins Street, I ordered a long-black (a popular drink in cafes in Australia and New Zealand) and watched the flow of people pass by. Across the street, two street musicians are playing and singing, song Fix You by Coldplay:
The blonde guy sings passionately, in a voice that’s not as high-pitched as Chris Martin (member of the band Coldplay), but more emotional. When the song swept away, he seemed to ignore the effect of “business”: the street was still empty, and the wooden box still had no money. But he just kept singing, with a bright smile.
Faces like that in Melbourne, in the sun, are pure beauty, for I find no anxiety in them. It’s as if life here takes away the features from the pool of suffering. Sometimes I suddenly want to suddenly interview a face like that on the street, see how your life is, why everything seems so light, but then I hold back.
For many years, Melbourne has been ranked among the top most livable cities in the world, according to the annual poll of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a survey and analysis organization under the Economist magazine, thanks to its “quality of life”. , the presence of many famous universities, extremely low crime rates, and diverse street art”.
Those lines, now duplicated in thousands of different articles about Melbourne, can be found on Google, just a few seconds of typing. But surely many people will still feel confused: the very word “worth living” has also plunged into a bottomless abyss of language, containing words that are multiplied in numbers to the point of pushing emotions. about zero. Basically, when a person says/writes a place that is “worth living”, it is likely that the listener has become inert enough to no longer feel the reverberation of that word.
But in just under a week in Melbourne, this seemingly cliché phrase reverberated in my soul over and over again. I’ve lived in many other cities long enough to understand that being “worth living” isn’t easy. Stepping out of the house every morning, most of us townsfolk rush into a whirlwind of pre-arranged fierce modules, to race, compete, and sometimes, survive. We often don’t have enough time to really watch or wait patiently for something.
But Melbourne is like a circuit breaker that shuts down the power that feeds this concept. Malls stop trading (except for restaurants and bars) from 6-8pm, and only really open at 9-10am. Here, you can understand “living” in a different sense.
Wandering aimlessly, looking up at the golden sunlight splashing on the buildings, stopping in front of a train station or Victorian church, crossing the bridge over the Yarra River, watching the sun fade away… We lived like that, during a week here. Go just to go, and stop whenever you feel the need to look. A week without sensational events in your life. It felt like ephemeral passing through this strange city, taking in everything, but then nothing mattered.
Last night in Melbourne, we were sipping in a bar when a friendly local girl came up to the table and asked to join us. She said she had a bit of a sad day today, and because she saw how excited we were, she wanted to sit with her to “get some air”. So we had a few drinks together, told each other a few stories without beginning or end, without even asking each other’s names.
Melbourne at night, with views over the city’s tallest building, the Melbourne Skydeck.
Then when I left, the bar door closed behind me, the girl said goodbye and walked in the opposite direction, I told myself I might never see that friend again, or even remember. what they said to each other. It’s not a strange thing on the many twists and turns of life, but one thing is for sure: the souls of both sides may have eased a little, because of that fleeting communication.
Even now, as I sit down to type my memories to send to readers, something sweet rises in my heart, and I feel myself suddenly lighter.
Melbourne seems to have some mechanism embedded in my mind that can trigger a whisper with the slightest remembrance, repeating over and over that my soul can always be as light as a leaf, and even It doesn’t need a wind to lift it up slightly.
Yes, our soul can always be just a leaf.