”Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly.” Annie Dillard The Writing Life


In a week I’ll be boarding the plane and heading to Toronto via Sydney and LA. I’ll have about 20 flying hours to think about my journey of belonging in Australia. There’s lots of stuff hanging over my head as I write this: organizing care for my girls while Joe’s at work, a minor operation for our dog, finishing admin (ick), booking weekend flights to Winnipeg to see my family.

While all of this is swirling in my brain, I’m also looking around and mentally noting what I’ll need to pack: puffer, medication, a favourite book or two (easier to download to Kindle and stock up on books in Toronto), running shoes, computer, climbing shoes, flute. Clothes? Nah.

As I look around our 1934 Queenslander, I also notice all the things that have travelled with me around the world and how I must get a sense of belonging and meaning and connection from certain objects:An antique chest I bought with my dad using money from my godmother; my old bike; a Native American dreamcatcher; my favourite books (some stolen from my dad’s library); a mug that mum bought me when we all met in San Francisco and that my husband accidentally broke and then replaced with the same mug on his last trip to the US (now that’s Love). 


Amethysts that family friends gave to me when I was a child; perfume bottles from my mother and my older brother and nana-great; a small glass jar decorated with tiny dripping legs of melted wax that my little brother made; a Lladro figurine of a peasant girl that my nana gave me when I became the first person in her family to graduate from university (”Never forget where you came from,” she said.).
These items are meaningless to anyone else yet they watch over me. I do not hold them in my hand, they hold me in theirs. They give me a sense of history and meaning and continuity. I marvelled at the simple beauty of the Lladro peasant girl when I was 22 and now I talk to her today as I would talk to my nana if she were still alive. I rode my bike all over Paris and London and Toronto and Sydney. How can I possibly abandon her now, just because she’s a bit rusted?And this house that we’ve renovated and made ours? Of course it’s only a material thing but it’s our little oasis. A place where, when I open the door, I know I can breathe and relax into a piece of belonging. 



What is the item that gives you a sense of belonging and continuity?