Saturday, August 25, 2007

1788 Connection with Kensington

(Notes from a Kensington Coffee Shop - across from the St Mary Abbots Church)

Moss leaks down the stone in green shadows, crowning the heads of stone characters in a very hip luminescence which would earn high praise in the night club across the High Street. From outside, the stained windows are slate black and their colour is lost to us. The sun pokes through occasionally and with the help of the stirring maple trees dapples the stone and windows in blotches of moving light, drawing soft oranges and blues from the windows and lightening the stone, giving it life.

Kensington rushes past Francis Hepburn , buried here in February 1788, the year the First Fleet arrived in Australia. As I rub the dirt and leaves from the engraved letters of her name there is a surreal moment of compressed time and a strange connection made with this place, based on those dates. While Kensington bustled about its ordinary business and Francis was but a month from her grave Sydney cove watched in silence and wonder at the apparition of the fleet - soon proven to be real enough. What was happening in this parish while the fleet was settling into Sydney Cove? The connection seems all the more real for the current existence of this church building, linking time, place and visitor in a surreal way, with the help of Francis' passing. I wonder what she would make of my musing on her helping make a connection with this place.

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