Sunday, June 19, 2011

Across the Border: Detritus: St James Railway Station: People

It has been cold and rainy in Sydney in the past fortnight and many of my friends have been feeling down about their lives. Most of my friends are just like me: we have jobs, clean sheets on our beds, food in the cupboard, beer in the fridge and can even buy one new frock each month. 
It's easy to remind my friends of all that they have when they are down, but it doesn't mean that it lifts their spirits. Sometimes the black cloud or black dog, or just the blackness, blankets all hope. 
I have learnt to embrace those dark moments, because I have realised there is no lightness without black, no winning without losing and no depth in the personality of the eternally happy. 
I am also reminded each week of just how fortunate I am when I walk through the underground tunnels that lead to St James Railway Station.


Every winter - every year - the tunnel becomes a home for a group of young men in their 20s. 
When it's raining they read alone or huddle close together and play cards or songs on a guitar. But when there's a blue sky, they leave their beds and belongings in the tunnel to make the most of the sun. 
When I passed through on a cloudy day last week, one young man was sitting alone on a milk crate playing guitar and singing Roxy Music's More Than This.
His enchanted voice followed me all the way to the train and I couldn't help but sing along and feel elated. And I couldn't help but feel sad that this sweet young man who has so little could give me so much happiness.


So if you are feeling miserable and are losing hope, just remember there are people worse off than you. Remember all that you have and all that you are. Learn to relish the down times for they make the good times so much more beautiful. When you crawl under your clean sheets each night in your bed under a roof, remember that there are people sleeping rough on dirty sheets placed on a cold, hard ground, resting their heads on old pillows. And it's a very fine line between the two of us. Grab hold of life and all its ups and downs and don't let it go.
And if you see or hear that bright young singer in the tunnel of St James, stop and listen, and please give him a gold coin and a warm smile for me. 


Or if you want to make a bigger donation to help others through the cold winter and the darkest of days, visit these websites to see how you can help.

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6 comments:

The Fitzroy Flasher said...

Right on! Eloquently said.

vettiliveinnorthcote said...

thank you for a tragic yet beautiful post...it's a fine line indeed, and these cold days should encourage us all to be extra supportive. loving your work...

Anonymous said...

Excellent social commentary Violet and hard core too

Violet Tingle said...

Thanks lovely people. VTx

Anonymous said...

I'm a newbie to your wonderful blog - the variety, insight, accuracy and depth is such a breath of fresh air: Thank you for highlighting the bits that need to be seen, beautiful and/or foul. Cheers, big time.

Violet Tingle said...

Dearest anonymous, thank you for your lovely comments. I'm so glad you're a newbie; if it was all oldies around here I'd only have three or so readers, so thanks again, your kind comments are appreciated. VTx