Patonga Portal

The Story

came to me from realising the tree had not fallen from the cliff but had been excreted from the belly of the wall; not shat, but been born and the cliff concealed a birth canal, sealed up now, or so I was led, by good reason, to believe.

It was from the writhing I discerned it. From the wailing and the flaying of its arms around in its distress and from the space it had taken up in its birth bed to do so which required me to turn my head to take it in.

And from its being so rock-like, the tree, as if the colour had been rolled out of the wall into a rock reefer, beckoning, tempting, as if I was nineteen. That would account for its sedimentary nature too, that its tree shape would fool me otherwise.

And yet here it was, this she-tree, all laid out, teasing me into imagining all this.

To be apprehended is to be brought to a standstill. In a subsequent moving , a spell is broken. In being that the scene was so self-contained, it was sealed as if by an invisible sash.

In spite of this,

I walked into the picture, like a proper painting would invite you to do, in passing the tree and walking up to the wall, and using words then, to say to the wall,

I am here. I have come. I am open to the loss of all that I hold dear.

And the wall opened, that could give and take birth all at once and short of stalling, I walked, more stumbled up and in,

And left Jacqueline to wander up the beach, alone.

As my Darkinjung, Darug, Eora, Kuringgai brothers would attest, the differentiation between inside and outside is minimal.

On adjusting to the light I discovered there was no light nor absence of light to which to adjust. Nor was there a forward motion to which I could reverse, having made the decision to enter, there was no going back. There was no up or down.

Without space or light I supposed therefore that time was an unnecessary vessel in which those entities might be contained. Lingering would take no time at all.

And with that, I was on the beach again, with a fresh appreciation of the abstraction of all things.

And life, a gallery of rooms.