On Thursday I went for a walk when the sky was on fire.
I found myself wondering around Melbourne University campus at 6pm, a non-student in a crowd of people who should be there, people who knew where they were going. You could tell I didn’t belong because I was staring at the buildings. A mix of old and new – the old looking like how I’ve seen Oxford look on TV. Curvy stone and courtyards. (Is that what they call quads?)
The main building of my university was an old naval college but I don’t remember it being particularly beautiful. I remember the English block was a hideous monolith though, with the option of fifteen flights up an outdoor concrete staircase or a lift the size of a coffin. Behind the main building was a big lawn with a door in the middle that opened to nowhere. (Is that what they call art?)
On Thursday nobody else was staring at the buildings, reminiscing about their past. Because this was their present, their everyday. We were all staring at the sunset though. The sky was a dark, moody grey but orange bursts revealed themselves in the gaps between buildings – scorching parallelograms amongst shadowy stone. (Is that what they call chiaroscuro?)
It was big, beautiful, wondrous. It made us stare like we’d never seen sky before. It transcended the past or the present. It made us stand still and look. It could not be captured on an iphone camera. But that didn’t stop us from trying.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 5th May 2019 as part of Internet Care Package – a weekly memoir project in the form of a newsletter. It also includes links to the best things I’ve found on the internet each week and occasional updates on my theatremaking. This blog is a select archive of those emails. Subscribe to get them right in your inbox.