A fan spins away slightly inconsistently in the corner of the room. Propped up on its end in the draw, it lives on without standing upright. The metal and plastic base was smashed when it tumbled over one day, and got caught in the curtains then wedged between the door and door frame. Leaning it against the wall creates this very dull, almost unnoticeable vibration, just almost beyond the limits of your hearing. Life rolls on and the fan remains ignored, spinning away in inanimate servitude.
If you’ve survived reading, making it through the foundational and yet mundane life of a broken fan, I have an ask for you: can you think about what you’ve inherited during your life, from birth or somewhere along the way.
What attitudes, memories, family, geography, environment, tradition, heritage, expectations?
After you’ve done this find out why this piece is called ‘Another cup of tea’.
Earl Grey tea – standard. No coffee. No sweetness (actually, maybe a little honey). Just tea and simple. In the same cup every day – one emblazoned with a West Australian eucalyptus branch painted on the side. Stunning plant, with pin-cushion-hakea-esk crimson flowers.
The final dregs drain from the bottom of the cup as the clock ticks ever closer to knock off time. Tonight is special in that it’s the first time I’ve been able to pick up the pen and contribute to the book I set out to write six months ago. The mini-book of sojourn observations and photographs of my favourite patch.
It’s back on track, and focusing on a shared inheritance.
Inheritance, what’s around us and built us, is essentially what drives us each and every day, even if (like the fan in the corner), I don’t make a point to recognise or acknowledge it.
We’ve inherited a fantastic patch of world, one of beautiful land-and-sea-scapes with incredibly unique plants and animals throughout. I’ve inherited a safe place, an easy going place, and are surrounded by intelligent, inspiring and loving people. You can explore on your own without crowds. Put up a tent almost anywhere (if you’re careful) and feel right at home.
We’ve also inherited a mess – climate choking on heat, ironic plastic pollution, subtle (and obvious) racism and sexism, a disgusting history of white domination, widespread land degradation, environmental arrogance, faulty democracy, in-balance, and a heavy dependance on alcohol. That’s just how it is remains a pathetic excuse I deplore.
Even if (and sometimes especially if) we ignore these, they shape us. In writing our future, we must think about and delve into the past, the ‘what actually happened to get us to where we are now’, so as to learn from the successes and failures alike. So we don’t have to spend our whole generation learning what a previous generation spent a whole generation learning. So when people lie and make up stories about the grandeur of the past, we have a safe and anchored understanding of actuality, guiding us through perpetual bullshit.
An understood past with a common future in mind – it’s time to begin with the end in mind and strive collectively for something incredible, for a place where the inherent positives drown out and strangle the negatives.
That’s what I’ve inherited, what I write about, what I photograph. The most beautiful patch of land, water and everything on it.
Here’s to a new years burst of energy, and the bound concoction of photos and words once again writing itself!