I walked home from Darling Harbour yesterday afternoon, dreading the extensive mental to-do list that I needed to attend to later that night. I was drained and overwhelmed, not only by a never-ending array of steep stairs that stood before me, but because with every trouble that I attempted to wrap my head around, another issue flared up. I felt imprisoned within my own Catch-22 rut; cleaning up the clutter and making more mess in the process.
Herein lies the problem: When I feel engulfed by the fiery flames of intense pressure, my mind works like one of those large popcorn machines you find in cinemas. As heat forces popcorn to burst around its display container, somehow extreme stress causes haphazard thoughts to spring up and violently ricochet throughout my mind. And indeed, like popcorn, those thoughts are usually over-salted with pessimism and grief.
POP. Workplace drama…POP. University fees…POP. Health scares……
POP. POP. POP.
I contemplated cabbing the rest of my journey home as I begrudgingly walked over the very last step. I shuffled the song choice on my iPod from a something little less Katy Perry energetic to something a little more Coldplay solemn, turning up the volume when –
I turned around to see a casually dressed young man with a camera hanging securely around his neck. His tanned arms were wrapped around the waist of his beautiful partner, who was holding a crumpled up map of Sydney. Their smiles were almost as bright as the sun’s afternoon rays.
“Could you please take a photo of us?” He asked excitedly, handing me his Nikon, “and can you try to get the harbour in the photo?”
As I captured their Sydney memory with the press of a finger, I was struck with a sudden realisation. Something finally hit me.
I am standing on the Harbour Bridge.
I am overlooking Sydney Harbour.
People travel from across the globe to stand in this very spot.
And I am here.
This is what I saw:
My popcorn thoughts were interrupted by the extraordinary panorama perspective around me. Like mixing paints, the clear harbour water subtly changed colours as each wave was kissed by the sunlight. I watched in wonder as deep sapphire blues blended with sea green pigments, forming the flawless aquamarine oceans that surrounded the stunningly crafted Opera House. I witnessed an exquisite vignette paint itself before my eyes.
Sometimes the most breathtaking sight is the one that sits right before you, the one you’re overlooking or underestimating. Sometimes your way out, your escape, is the blatant route that you often ignore. My Catch-22 rut of popcorn thoughts ceased with an expected pause…..a pause that appeared out of the blue…. out of the blue ocean of Sydney’s majestic harbour.