I am not a person who always likes change, but this year has been different. Earlier this year I moved out of my beloved house that I’ve owned for years, and now I’m moving again. In my case, I am fortunate that there are many good things that come with this, but it is still not without its complexities.
The move has got me thinking about what home really means and what moving must mean for the women we work with, who are leaving in very difficult circumstances.
They are leaving violence and hopefully it is behind them, but they also leave ritual, neighbours and neighbourhoods, routine, cycles, the comfort of knowledge in their surrounds, and memories. And their moves are often very sudden with no time like I’ve had to get used to the idea and accept what I can’t take with me.
It’s strange what we miss. For me, leaving the garden was what felt most difficult: a grass tree, the beautiful orange coloured grevillea, a cycad and its annual coning and of course, the many birds.
I thought about the garden and its inhabitants often in those final days and wondered how I would leave them. There was one bird that I knew I would especially miss. A Spotted Pardolote that had begun turning up at 3 p.m. each Sunday, in the months before I left.
Since my move, I flick through my photos of the Pardolote and the flowers and am always left smiling, but of course I have moved on without them. They are now beautiful memories of my past life and now, I am happy to be creating new memories. I enjoy a different view to start the morning, a new garden to look at and a lush park across the road. Moving house is also a renewal, it is also moving on.
For the women leaving their homes and coming to Bonnie’s, I know it must be such a complex mix of feelings. They leave with great difficulty, I know now that some things they will dearly miss and would love to take with them. But when they leave, what they’re doing is reaching for something else – an opportunity to find a new rhythm, and maybe a new Pardalote too.
Written by Executive Officer, Tracy.