Memorabilia & Memories

Behind me, on the Japanese noren curtain, the petals of cherry blossoms gently drift to the ground. In front of me a model Narita Express runs past a Shinto temple. Diecast jet aircraft are poised in front of carp streamers to leap off the desk and across the ocean. Above me, posters for Le Chat Noir and the Moulin de la Galette stand astride a black and white photograph of the bridges of Paris.

The reminders of holidays past and dreams of journeys to come surround me in the house. Each time we travel we bring back mementos of the journey. Today I was sorting through bags of brochures, maps and tickets, each bag a separate trip, filing and tossing.

The maps and guides to cities and sights are useful future references, but it is the little items that stir the memories. Business cards of a Tokyo hairdresser, tickets for the awful train ride from Yichang to Nanjing, the little cards of directions to the Chinese hotels for the taxi drivers, menu cards and boarding passes for flights, an travel agent printed itinerary for a European holiday. These bring tears to my eyes as I remember.

News stories tell of aircraft dropping hundreds of meters mid-flight. I think of my last flight back from Canberra and the thought of sitting through another turbulent flights fills me with dread. Then a screensaver photograph, another memento, displays on my computer of a smooth flight above the clouds and I realise that, despite the bumps, there was peace and beauty up in those clouds.

Terrors and misfortunes fade with time and so we step out the door again, more experiences to be sought, more memories to be made.