Friday, May 21, 2010

Pay attention

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

– TS Eliot from 'Little Gidding,' Four Quartets  
The idea of a journey of self-discovery is quite laughable in some senses, and quite pitiable in others; if I can't find myself in Brisbane, then why should I have more success in Santiago?

Of course, the issue really isn't about finding in one place what would otherwise be lost elsewhere. The issue, rather, is about being more aware of what one has and who one is – wherever one is located. And as much as the familiarity of commuting dulls the senses, the novelty of travelling sharpens them; more than that, pilgrimage confronts the senses. The pedestrian scale and pace of movement for the pilgrim means there is no escaping the unfamiliarity.

The sun and its passage through the sky, feeling its warmth on my back and the chill of the wind as I walk into it – these are things I noticed on my recent trip to Sydney. And for some time I noticed similar things on my return.

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