A Love Letter to Sydney
Words and photos by Kylie Harber.
Written in 2018.
A dream six months in the making, brought me to you.
And when I arrived, I felt instantly alive.
I waited for the feeling to give way to the ho-hum of work and the grind of daily
routine. I waited for treasured views to fade into familiarity. I wondered when
shimmering Harbour Bridge glimpses from quiet Balmain streets would no longer
be a feature of my home, but normality.
This has never happened.
You call to me, over and over, in different ways.
I breathe in your beauty and I am renewed. You are delightfully grounded in
nature, with every street moulded into the shapes of an ancient land. Beach and
bush merges with heritage, history and urbanisation. Despite the frantic rush and
buzz you create, I’m never far away from the smell of earth.
I touch your roughened sandstone and pound your cobblestone streets, gaining
instant perspective and respect for the many feet that have walked here before
me. You remind me that cities are layers of memories and stories – feet
wandered here long before there were streets.
I listen to the rustle of pines as I practice yoga in a little blue waterfront workshop that once housed ships and migrant workers. Outside, the Harbour rushes in at the seawall,
a constant rhythm of swooshing – sometimes gentle, other times powerful – that
quiets my racing mind.
I taste the salt water in your rock pools and spend countless hours dreaming of
the moment I can get back to more of these invigorating moments of peace. Your
beaches allow the ocean to hold my weight and the sunshine to kiss my skin. To lie
on the grass, sip smoothies and feel the sea breeze is a true joy.
I see your changing seasons, presented to me as distinct phases in time. These are
defined by brassy leaves, descending fog, smoking chimneys, cherry blossoms and
I see the sun and moon dance over you – the light never hits your iconic sails the same way twice, and the Harbour sings in colour, all day, through a variety of blues, greens and greys more varied than its depths.
You are so bright that I cannot quite see all of the night stars. You are your own
star – lighting the way for the most diverse, transient and vibrant community I’ve
ever lived in. You encourage me to look for beauty everywhere, every day, and
inspire me to create, celebrate and enjoy. That’s what cities are for.
I left my heart with you, Sydney.