The Spirit of Place

I love the experience of being in a wild place: the sight of a vast ocean, the smell of a eucalyptus forest, or the feel of lichen under my hand as I sit on a warm boulder at the edge of an escarpment. But most of my days are spent in the built spaces of the city. Here too there are places that can be equally transcendent, where the spirit soars.

Most of the places I love in the city are civic spaces, places of communal gathering that often feature gardens, water, history and inspiring architecture. In each of them, the first time I entered I felt that I had come home, that I knew the place intimately, even though I’d never been there before. I felt an affinity with its purpose. I felt I could stay there forever.  Whenever I visit these places I leave refreshed and inspired.

The word inspired is a word of the late Middle Ages, a gothic time of arches and sky reaching spires; a time unafraid to acknowledge the metaphysical. So these are for me enchanted places, where magic is possible: a spell is cast, time stops, we are entranced. These are places that can feed the soul. They create memories to sip slowly when our reserves are low. They are cards to pull out and play with when we are bored. They are a door into the spiritual realm, places where our imagination and our senses are engaged, powerful places where we are linked to the earth, the sky and all of humanity.

Here are five of these enchanted places. I could list many more as I’m sure could you.

                         1)  The Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales                         An Edwardian reading room with an amazing collection. http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/

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                                              2)  The Quadrangle, University of Sydney                                           An arched walkway surrounds the grassed courtyard at the centre of this tudor gothic sandstone building.  http://sydney.edu.au/arts/about/quadrangle.shtml

The Quad2

                                           3) Red Leaf Harbour Pool and Gardens                                                 Now the Murray Rose Pool, it is the enclosed half of Seven Shillings Beach, a stunning summer swimming spot and lovely place for a meditative walk at other times.  http://www.woollahra.nsw.gov.au/

Red Leaf Pool

                                4)  The Herb GardenRoyal Botanic GardensSydney                                If you haven’t got your own herb garden visit this one. You can’t pick but you can smell: lavender, sage, rosemary, mint and hundreds of other herbs.  https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/

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And if you happen to be in Canberra, a planned city, so different to Sydney, this is one of my favourite places in the capital.

              5)  The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.                           The graceful 1920’s architecture houses the ghosts of Australia’s recent                                                                political past. http://moadoph.gov.au/

800px-OPH_KingsHallbjenks Brian Jenkins Wikipedia Commons        (Photo courtesy of Brian Jenkins, kindly licensed under the Wikipedia Commons)

About sagesomethymes

Daniela is a writer, theatre producer and civic educator. She has had poetry and short stories published in 'Prayers of a Secular World', Inkerman & Blunt; 'Blue Crow Magazine', Blue Crow Press; 'Knitting and other stories', Margaret River Press and Radio National’s '360 documentaries'. Her debut play, 'Talc', was produced in 2010. Her short play, 'Sicilian Biscotti', was produced for the launch of “Women Power and Culture” at New Theatre in 2011 and shortlisted for the Lane Cove Literary Award in 2015. Her second full length play, 'Friday', was produced by SITCO at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in 2013. 'The Poor Kitchen' was produced in 2016 as part of the Old 505 Theatre’s Fresh Works Season and was published by the Australian Script Centre in 2017 (https://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1836). She co-wrote 'Shut Up And Drive' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at KXT in 2016. In 2019, her new play, 'Seed Bomb' was produced at Old 505 Theatre as part of the FreshWorks Season. She is the co-founder of indie theatre company subtlenuance (www.subtlenuance.com) Her published short stories can be read via the Short Stories tab on this blog.
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