Epilogue 2009

I have been absent for quite some time now, but could not resist a quick post, given that I have always set a few minutes aside on New Year’s Eve in order to write about some significant issue or memory. In this case, I have thought of writing up a summary of the past decade’s events, as perceived by some of my Torres Islands friends. The reason? Just simply to offer a humble alternative, a footnote if you will, to the various grand listings of globally important things that opinion makers and the media are now rushing to compose as the first ten years of this new century come to a close.

As most of my acquaintances and family know, I am not one to go overboard about New Year. But in this case, the temptation is great, for two simple reasons. First, I hope I may kick-start my blog again by reflecting on how people in a very small island community which I happen to know rather well perceive time and events from their particular vantage point in the universe. Second, I realised this afternoon that I spent my first New Year’s Eve in the Torres Islands precisely a decade ago: on the night of December 31, 2009, I lay on the beach at Peliauluwo, a small, secluded and (at that time) uninhabited white sand beach of incredible beauty on the island of Loh. I lay there – in the company of my former partner and companion, Like – and watched the sky from a bit of land which was hundreds of kilometres from the nearest urban centre.

The beach I mention lies just beyond the vegetation at the edge of the sand.

Much has happened since then. Not least, from the point of view of the people who have continued to welcome and open their homes to me during my four return trips. The same people who will be seeing me again within a months’ time. So it seems as good enough an excuse as any to take stock of what they have seen and experienced, and perhaps some of what I have learned during the privileged time that I have been fortunate to spend with them.

But now it is getting close to midnight local time, and I am off.

Back tomorrow.

c

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