An OED definition of vibration is to say it is like a pendulum swinging to and fro. To quote, “Vibration – from the Latin vibrare, move rapidly to and fro, brandish, shake, etc. Of a pendulum to swing to and fro, to oscillate 1667. To quiver, shake, tremble, to move or oscillate between two extreme conditions, opinions.
In that vein in the early 1990s I was living here in Benalla, but my marriage had broken up and I was looking for a new job in journalism. I was interviewed in Melbourne by a Sydney publisher and in due course he told me I had won the job.
Indeed this was a swing of the pendulum and one I enjoyed in various roles for 15 years. The job was at Birkenhead Point in the inner west suburbs on the Harbour. So that was a quite significant swing from landlocked Benalla.
But not surprisingly, the lifestyle was quite different. I re-established contact with an old girl friend and thanks to her friends and knowledge of Sydney we were able to enjoy and suffer what the city had to offer on many levels.
In terms of suffering and harking back to that pendulum again, Anabel and I had three friends whose sons or brothers suffered so badly from schizophrenia that they committed suicide by jumping from the Gap, just round on the steep rocky seaward side of South Head.
That was just so out there for me and I know it was for the surviving relations too of course.
On a less sad level, my friend Anabel owned a beautiful small farm on the south coast near Kiama and we often went there at weekends, not least to fight rapidly encroaching lantana. It is a nice, contained garden flower here, but in that warmer more humid climate, it simply takes off and dominates bush land in many areas on the coast.
So we sprayed and slashed and burned, seemingly sometimes to little effect. At the same time I had to deal with sand flies. They are difficult to see but leave wounds that particularly on your legs, seemingly need scratching for a week or more at a time.
Eventually I concocted a brew which when applied to my legs, kept them at bay.
On a cultural level too, Anabel took me to plays - Alan Bennet's History Boys and Lady in the Van stand out - and my Canberra based sister took me to operas at the opera house.
Hardly missed an art gallery, museum or any other exhibition either. Living in Paddington - John Olsen's gallery was just round the corner - I didn't miss much in the art world anyway.
We also hiked some amazing walks around the harbour and in one case I remember an angry landowner shouting that we were walking across his Harbourside land. We even undertook the old colonial road walk towards Newcastle. Never got that far though.
Well the pendulum has swung back to Benalla and while I have some regrets, I love this town and the people and what it has to offer too. Good vibrations on all levels.