Colleen belongs to a small group of writers committed to meeting each month to further our skills, after attending a Summer School of Life Writing tutored by Deborah Shepard. Colleen enjoys writing poetry and recently had a poem published in a collection entitled When Anzac Day Comes Around by Graeme Lindsay.
We are flying over the Great Dividing Range inland from Brisbane heading for Hong Kong. It is 5.15 pm, 26 June 2015. The window is a rectangle about twice the size of an A4 sheet with curved corners. The sunlight makes the view ultra clear and bright at 34,000 ft. The top third of the view is clear sky blue, fading to pale icy white as the snow white clouds meet the horizon.
I love flying above the clouds and watching the ever changing pockets of density. I fantasize I could easily wade through the dense meringue and bounce in the soft fluffy bubbles emerging like a snowman covered in whipped egg white. I have no sense of being able to fall through this cocoon of white, but the softness wraps around me even as the whiteness levels out in the distance. I can eat it if I like. In some places, someone has travelled before me with a giant fork or rake and smoothed my path to oblivion. If only dying could be so peaceful and tranquil, surrounded by whiteness and silence. No sense of aloneness, just peace.
I am eagerly awaiting the excitement and colour density the sunset will soon bring but I have been asked to shut down the blind! How can they deny me this pleasure.
When faced with this writing exercise I felt restricted at first until I realised I had the gift of choice and it was not a dilemma but an opportunity to recall so many windows. Some are shut — some are open — some are coloured — some opaque — some leaded.
My mind drifts back to a very small window with a heavy gilt frame shaped like a temple dome but with heavy hinges and an exquisite lock and key. It was smaller than my water bottle and opened out over the lake to reveal the middle distance view of the Hindu Temple on the other side. The foreground was framed with soft green gum-like trees that were home to beautiful white storks with huge nests. They seemed quite comfortable with our close proximity. The sounds that surrounded me were wonderful, especially the Temple bells at 5am and the constant swish of the gardeners’ brooms sweeping and smoothing the pathways below.
This was Rohet Garh in Rajasthan, October 2011. At the time I left reluctantly. I didn’t want to close the carved shutters and shut out that view. But I can go back there in my mind at any time. I can dream about this window and the sensation it evoked whenever I choose.
Deborah thanks Rangimarie Kelly and Pikau Digtal for website design and artist Karen Jarvis for her image ‘Writers at the Devonport Library,’ (2023)