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Wednesday, May 24, 2006 

Ode to Albatrosses

She sits on the edge of the seat. Her back is as far from the cold metal as she can while still technically sitting. Her fingers are clenched around the edge, balancing her as she perches. Her feet are held of the freezing concrete, bare and boasting manicured, though now slightly chipped, nails.

She’s going home. Her blistered feet look bruised, purple, strange in the morning light, and out of the heels that are now held in her hand. The skirt and top that made up her outfit last night now look crumpled, bare minus the accessories that are now stuffed in her bag. The unmade-up face is pale, miserable with her hangover.

I’ve done it so many times. Hair scragged back in the clip I remembered to cram into my bag two minutes before leaving the night before. Feet bleeding, the soles on fire. That’s why I hate winter so much- the number of times I’ve walked barefoot through snow rather than brave my shoes again. Rain is pretty awful, but snow is the worst.

So we sit, cold, miserable, and regretting the circumstances that put us here. We have flashbacks in our delirious, hung over state. Memories of misery, embarrassment, of the men who still lie in their beds content, but refuse to lie in ours.

I never seem to make the right choices. Love is like flight. It takes a while, and sometimes it can be hard work, but if it works then you’ll go places that you’ve never even dreamed of before. Albatrosses can fly for thousands of miles; they can go for however many kilometres without even flapping their wings. I’ll never be like the albatross, love is hard for me, awkward, in the flight scenario I’m probably going to end up more like a big clumsy duck than an albatross. But at least a duck can fly. I hurt too quickly, and every time I start to think that I might be taking off, something goes wrong.

I’ve chosen the wrong men, I’ve chosen to do things too early, too late, and with some I act too much like myself, with others not enough. It’s all too hard, too painful. I don’t want to try again, the first trial hurt too much. So I’ll sit here on my bench, in the cold, and waiting for my bus to arrive with the driver that barely speaks English and doesn’t know the difference between a single and a return. This is easier, this I’m used to, and though this is utterly killing me, its physical pain rather than mental, and that I can handle.

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Albatrosses can fly so far because they do so little. They ride the currents, letting the air catch under their wings, effortlessly gliding for mile upon mile.

Ducks put too much effort in. The flap and flap and flap, and every landing looks like it's a big surprise.

So yes, be an albatross. Let life take you where it wants to. Feel it's wind underneath, guiding you as you touch a wingtip here and there - but no more than that.

Don't try so hard. Just relax and spread your wings.

It will come.

Love your blog, keep posting.


Glad you left me a signpost to find you again. I missed reading your posts. There are some great ones here. A bloghome seems to have given you a new lease of creative life.

As for the flying - I think you need a good wind to be on your side, to hold you up and carry you along from time to time - and you both have to have the same destination in mind when you set off.

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  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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Save the Albatrosses


    * In 2001 one New Zealand fishing boat killed over 300 seabirds in just one trip, while fishing for ling.
    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
    * Over the past 60 years some albatross populations have declined by 90%.
    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
  • Save the Albatrosses
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