Sunday afternoon

There’s a park near our house than runs along beside a creek and a walking track that snakes through it, parallel to the water. We’ll often meander along it on afternoons, casually spotting adorable dogs. Late last year the playground underwent major renovations and is now seriously posh. It’s got a big webbed climbing structure and a giant bowl swing and the path around it is marked out like a road, complete with street signs, so children can practice road rules on their scooters.
A couple of weeks ago, during one of our weekend promenades, I decided that we should have a picnic in this park.
Yesterday, we did that. We made our way down the street and across the little knit-bombed bridge, laden with potato salad and cake. We claimed a barbeque area that was already partially inhabited by a group of youths who were sitting on the concrete eating chicken schnitzel with their hands in some strange act of rebellion. They left shortly afterwards and we discovered that, in the absence of a better implement, they had cooked their schnitzel with a stick.
We got distracted by a man who appeared to be training his dog to pull a tyre along behind it. He did this for some time, even making the dog run up a hill, tyre bouncing along behind. There was no logical purpose for this that we could see, except for sled dog training. But that is for big grey dogs in Antarctica, not medium sized black dogs in Islington Park.
This was the first of many philosophical argument had over dinner, including “What even are savoury Shapes?”, “Is savoury a flavour?” and “Does anyone remember which flavours of Shapes actually taste good?”
There weren’t really enough sausages but we had salad and bread and ham and chocolate so no one really minded.
As the light faded we moved to the playground, now free of children. Rachel and I sat on the swings, flinging ourselves higher and higher to the rhythmic creaking of the hinges, oddly like the sounds of a ship. We both said that the motion was making us queasy (not surprising given the amount of food we’d eaten) but we continued to swing, looking out over the mangroves and the creek and the houses on the other side. The light was almost gone but the faint orange glow of the streetlights trickled down into the water.
In a few months my social circle will change entirely. The people who’ve been an everyday part of my life for the last few years will retreat. They’ll be sometimes friends, long distances friends, people I mostly know online. And I’m going to have to relearn it all. I’ll have to discover new places worth picnicking in and new people who are worth picnicking with. I’ll have to find new paths to walk along in the afternoon sun. And I’ll probably have to stop putting bacon in potato salad.
Some days, I can think about moving to Melbourne like it’s an adventure and some days it feels like an ordeal. The reality is that it’s always going to be give and take. By opening myself to new people and new things and new opportunities for Sunday afternoon barbeques, I am, by necessity, stepping away from another set of people and places and parties. It’s an odd feeling but one that I think I’m starting to come to terms with.
I’m trying to enjoy these days while they’re here, without worrying too much about the future.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year