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459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

Greyer Border Sequoia

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

Greyer Border Sequoia

Andrew Ryan

So I guess I’ve become a weirdo. I’m in a new country and the main things I’m looking at, apart from my friend’s beautiful face, are the gulls and the trees. But it really isn’t so weird. We were talking about musicians and painters, another friend and I lately, and he asked me what I thought of Andy Warhol. The thing I said in the end was that no matter what people do or make, I’m probably more proud of the trees in the park out the front of my house.

The gulls here are bigger and greyer. My friend and I were swimming out in the murky San Francisco ocean at China Beach, and he was further out and I pointed to a big grey gull. He swam over to it, really close, and it stayed for a while and then flew out towards me. It was very beautiful and so was the light at the edge of all his body, just the edge, the rest of him all dark from shadow, and the hills behind and the idea of fog that would come in the morning all mixing in the vision. This is just a friend, not even a love, and my heart was leaping.

My heart leapt too when it went into the sitting room and through my eyes saw the big black baby grand piano that maybe I would get to write some songs on. All the friends are heading this way too, to play music-band rock shows out in public, but my heart got big at just this one private piano in a sitting room.

So this is what I’m thinking about. Taking in every lovely thing and letting it sink in, and also taking in every shitty thing and letting it increase my empathy and appetite for good.

Back in time a day the border security man didn’t like my answers to the questions as I got off the plane and sent me to a small room. There were more men who made me sit and wait while all the other people gradually got their little black books stamped. Mine just waited there. I thought about crying and felt a few tears get up but mainly I thought about all the people waiting waiting waiting to get to some safe place, not knowing whether they’d ever get there. I knew eventually I would get out but I also knew there’s no reason for me to be free, feel free like this, except some random chance of where I got inseminated and born out into the world and what version of colour and hair type and body type I got put into.

So I took my hour of waiting and questioning by the last man in the chain of little border links to think about The Others we are very very very close to being. It doesn’t matter if you’re only in the place to get perspective for a moment, or if it’s a drop in the ocean of experience type of perspective, it’s still right to imagine what it would be like to be The Others. You know what I mean, the people waiting to come and live by us who instead are in a waiting room for four years without escape. Or the one who ends up getting taken to jail for a very long time through a series of sad things happening over a series of sad years.

To be free. All the trees and all the gulls have this. We might gradually take away places for them to land and plant themselves, take away the water by drying and heating everything up, but at least they are always free. Hmm.

After the music band rock shows we’re going camping. I hope to see a sequoia, and one day I hope some giving organism like a sequoia takes over the borders, and all the other places where the answer could be “Yes, just like me, You are free!”