Cover Iona Julian-Walters
Naarm - 2021 Issue 01 Nature
2 Sunny Press Issue 01
Izzie Hannebery James Toogood Katie Julian Noa Shenker Olivia Davis Paddy Julian Sarah Hooper Tessa Jane Tony Neasmith Yvette Godby
Henry Leng Iona Julian-Walters
Brendan McHugh Callen Neasmith
We are a Naarm-based Press living on unceded Wurundjeri land. As young creatives, we have been told that the best art comes from a place of suffering. Indeed, this period of isolation has been an unprecedented challenge for many. Yet, Sunny is proud to belong to the community of artists that believe that the best art comes from a place of happiness, hope and feeling comfortable in one’s body. As happy-go-lucky people, focusing our energy on the positives of such an extraordinary period of pause to the usual chaos of Melbourne life has allowed our passion for literature and art to sprout. This helped us feel connected to our family, friends and community we have been separated from during lockdown. Therefore, Sunny is a publication that aims to combat readers’ feelings of gloom, leaving them smiling and laughing with content that focuses on the little beauties of the world.
We acknowledge that we are on the lands of the Wurundjeri people who have been custodians of this land for thousands of years, and acknowledge and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
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Introduction Before Tony Neasmith Endymion Tessa Jane Finding Happiness in a Simple Life Lockdown Lessons and Musings Olivia Davis A family trip to Nozawa Onsen Katie Julian Fishing with my Dad Rules to Remember Paddy Julian Sunny: Sounds of Spring (A) Human (B)eing Yvette Godby A Small Amount of Mischief Henry Leng Capture the Flag Noa Shenker Water at our Door James Toogood Perspective Izzie Hannebery Spring Skin Sarah Hooper The Mouldy Red Couch Callen Neasmith We Are Sunny Yvette's Garden Iona Julian-Walters
5 Welcome to Sunny
The theme for Sunny Press’ first edition is Nature. Our writing and artwork in our first edition aims to expand the enclosing walls of this isolating period and push out towards the freeing elements of nature and the intertwining glory of the ecosystem sustaining our existence. In these uncertain times, what is certain is that the world is more beautiful than words and art can express. We try to reflect on our relationship with the natural world, whether that has been by focusing on nostalgic experiences in the Australian bush or our yearning dreams of discovering new landscapes and cultures overseas or how our existence amongst the trees and stars has changed. Sunny encourages you to do the same. Pick up a pencil or paintbrush or your laptop and reflect on your relationship with nature. Trust us, it’s freeing!
My days of late have become an unkempt garden. But it’s not weed, bracken or briar that invades me, but the disappearing edges and pathways of a prior life, a life I had for so long and so confidently clung to. The normal part, the part I had hated so much and longed to change before COVID. My greenhouse is a constant I suppose, it has to this moment stood solidly for three score years and two, it has weathered me still, even as the onset of life’s age-based tempests tried to tear it down. But now I find the doors and windows creek, and jar and grind but not with age of weary wear. But with the specter that things will never be again as they were before COVID. Empty trams pass me like giant caterpillars playing catch up along St Kilda Road. Stops are empty spaces, and the once infuriating dinging of tram bells is now redundant, my morning train is an empty fly trap cannister, I see the driver as my train pulls onto the platform —
Before Tony Neasmith
The worst thing is the fear of losing what was, in that I can no longer confidently discern a path to what will be. That notwithstanding, I sincerely believe we Melbournians are evergreen, and more importantly perennial. Spring is nearly upon us, and as the long hot summer days and nights purify our resolve, I may even feel inclined to wave at the next train driver for good measure.
As I begin weeding emails arrive more frequently and are # tagged “stay safe” garrulous Morning TV broadcasters like Maccas drive through attendants end their requests for French fries with the same, masks pass me in Swanston Street, construction workers a constant, try and make eye contact with pretty girls. But no one looks up, maneuvering in silence, speeding up or slowing down to maintain safe distance, the street benches and church lawns that once spawned halcyon loves and wayward sorts, no longer run their toes and fingers through the grass as they so often did before COVID.
He has become a broken automaton, devoid of special purpose but still innately plagued with the desire to announce, something, anything to a carriage filled with frustrated passengers who once complained and tutted on hearing his excuses before COVID.
PHOTO: KATIE JULIAN
PHOTO: KATIE JULIAN
Endymion Tessa Jane but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing A flowery band to bind us to the earth…
John Keats, Endymion
Sometimes when I hang up the phone after talking to my mum, I fall asleep and dream of being home. Not in the house she lives in now, or in my dad’s, or the dilapidated terraced house we occupied in the suburbs. When I dream of home, the word means something else, something less articulable. Tonight, I dream of long rolling paddocks, a hill over which you can see nothing except one, big tree, a blot against the cloudless sky. I dream of sticks in the garden that were wizard’s wands, a ladle for a cauldron, a walking stick or a tool for drawing maps in the mud. I dream of a little house my dad built with spare timber and a trampoline with weeds wrapping tight around its legs. I dream of a cow, sometimes, standing between them. The cow had jumped over the fence. In my dreams I stand there, gumboots sinking into the damp grass, and I am small in stature and large in exhilaration, and I’m wishing I could help the cow get back to her friends but I am also scared of moving too close. My dog bounds laps around it and my mum and dad make big sweeping gestures, herding it gently through the rusty gate. Tomorrow night I hope I dream of the beach. I hope I feel the way I did when I was a child, wading through shallow water and pressing a small starfish into the palm of my sister’s hand. When I look over the water, I will feel as if nothing else exists except the ocean. I will stand as if I am reaching ten feet and towering above this giant earth, in solidarity with
each and every piece of this world which I inhabit, living or non. I will raise my arms, almost without meaning to, and remember what it is like to take your very first deep breath. It will spread through my stretching body and my chest will inflate like a balloon and I will feel so full but I will dread letting the air escape so I keep my chest held tight.
The water, composed of a million tiny ripples, will stir in unison like a giant silent chorus and the pale white moon will be its impassive conductor. It will be strange to see the moon during the daytime but the vision will be gentle and when I close my eyes I will see that soft blue lingering against the insides of my eyelids. It will be sad to wake up tomorrow morning from such a blissful dream but I will sometime stand again on a sandy shore and I will remember that the world still exists. When I remember that, I will be home. The last time I went to the beach was last summer. The reasons for this are varied and perhaps obvious. It is hard to remember that the world still exists when I cannot see it; the ocean lives not in my eyes but in my memory. I construct dollhouse sets of wax figures and screens, and I play back those warm days behind my eyelids. Some memories I relive more than others and now they unfold effortlessly in my mind under a glittering, rose-tinted haze. There’s the time my best friend and I blessed crystals in a mermaid pool. Some fish, unfazed by human presence, began to swarm around us. There must have been a hundred. She was less impressed by this than I — after all, we were in the ocean. There are fish. But I was overjoyed, perhaps due to my proximity to them, or the collective aliveness of the world around me, or the joint I had smoked earlier in the sun. I squealed when a crab darted
from one rock to another, and overturned it to reveal him, clutching a tiny shell in his sharp claw. I loved everything, then. Then there is the time I ate mushrooms on the central coast. How a friend turned to me and asked if I’d like to walk on the beach. I was preoccupied studying a baby spider climbing between two knuckles on my thumb, but ambled along behind her anyway. Three of us wandered along the shore, frequently squatting to comb through the shells which had washed up along it. I was overcome with their variety of size, colour and texture. I felt them all in turn with my fingers and placed those which were particularly special in the pocket of my pants. I even bent over to examine, with inappropriate affection, the guts of a dead fish and the throngs of dead bluebottle jellyfish tangled in curling seaweed. I loved those women both, watching them from a distance. I loved the first when she brought me a shell so I could look at it more closely, and when she wore the hat our friend crocheted to look like a frog. I loved the second when she hunched over a pile of rocks and sand, a silhouette of stern concentration against the mountainous coast and the ocean. I loved us all when we sat around the table sorting our collections by colour, and when the boys returned from kayaking and one tackled another to the ground while another sprayed them all with a garden hose.
I feel each morning as if I am waking from these blissful dreams, melancholy for times I can never return to. But the ocean has magic; it lasts, it lives forever. The same beaches lie uncombed, the same sun rises over them. The trees I see out my window still grow, and as I watch them their branches unfurl, growing new leaves on the tips of each gnarled finger. I, too, grow new leaves each spring, and I smile to the trees because they know how it feels to be laid bare by the winter. We will be home again, they whisper. I cannot wait to be a
child again, as I always am, on the seashore. I cannot wait to grow to ten feet, to suck salty air deep into my aching lungs. We will be home again. We will be home again. I will be home again.
AUGUST 2004 WAINUI, NEW ZEALAND
The mental shift toward the fact I enjoy simple activities and by doing so I’m not wasting my life, is freeing. This realisation will stay with me for years to come, along with the gratitude I have gained for this time of solitude. The proclivity to engage in activities labelled by most as mundane does not mean I live a boring life; I take joy in different things.
When the weather is nice, it feels more special than ever before, like sunshine can truly brighten your entire mood and be the focal point of your day. I have never checked the weather app so much in my existence.
Life is now a game where I try to keep off social media. Hobbies have become ranked by how conducive they are at keeping me off my phone, rather than how much I enjoy them. Less phone = happier, always.
Most days before lockdown it would grow dark and I would lie in bed and see photos of a sunset on my phone from people’s Instagram stories, disappointed I missed it amongst the chaos of my day. Now I go out to my balcony every evening and appreciate the beauty of nightfall uninterrupted. Small wins.
Don’t remove all challenge from your life. Lack of challenge = lack of fulfilment. Simple challenges are best: Cleaning, grocery shopping and cooking dinner are some of life’s simplest pleasures (challenges) yet bring the most fulfilment, I have found. Liken it to going to the gym class you couldn’t be bothered to go to and feeling incredible after.
Life slowing down has made me appreciate small wonders, like a young child discovering the world for the first time. My favourite is the way the light hits my coffee table and makes the vase upon it glow a pinkish hue against the wall at certain times of day that brings warmth to the entire space.
The week day morning routine of making coffee has become a ritual that marks the start of the day when no other structure exists. I enjoy slow mornings.
Some days the sky looks like a Simpson’s cartoon; it is mesmerising. I am thankful I now look around more when I go for walks and take in my surroundings. I hope to never lose this. Look up more than down; figuratively, and literally.
A family trip to Nozawa Onsen Katie Julian
In December 2018, our family ski trip started on a Shinkansen ride from Tokyo station with our bento boxes neatly on our laps, wrapped up like little gifts from heaven. It was our first trip back to Japan as a family since we lived in Tokyo in 2003 to 2006; when the kids were little. Now, all grown up, our oldest twins Jamie and Emma sat next to their partners Teish and Dan reading books and listening to music through headphones. Our youngest, Paddy sat watching one of his shows on his phone and my husband David snored next to me. About 30 minutes into the two-hour journey, I saw Fuji-san out the window and could not remove my eyes from its breathtaking beauty. So often it can be too cloudy to see but I had never witnessed the iconic mountain peak from this view. It was captivating. The village of Nozawa Onsen was lightly blanketed in snow when we arrived. We snaked up the hill through the village past quaint Japanese inns, bathhouses, gift shops and food stalls. The pretty village offered every aspect of Japanese culture and food that we had yearned for over the years. There were street vendors selling mochi snacks made from pounded rice, hot chestnuts, roasted sweet potato and nikuman. There was also the slightly steamy,
sulphurous smell from the natural hot springs in the air. All the kids snowboarded and although it was fun all being together on the mountain, I soon discovered the pitfalls of skiing with boarders – they scrape away the snow right before you. Therefore, David and I usually went off and did our own thing. The environment spurred us forward to again experience that adrenalin though our age and yearning for creature comforts slowed us considerably. Mid-morning on the slopes, we stopped for a coffee break at a café at the bottom of two steep and mogully black runs. From the window, we had a perfect view of people struggling down these terrifying runs that looked more like cliffs. I wondered what would motivate someone to come down them. It certainly didn’t look fun at all. Between skiing, eating Japanese food and bathing in the onsens, the trip couldn’t get much better. Each night after a long day on the slopes, us girls and the boys would separately set out to find one of the onsens to heal our sore wounds. Afterwards, we would find little Japanese restaurants off the beaten track then pile back to our communal room to watch movies.
On the last day, we were finishing up at around 3pm, to head down and go for an onsen after the day of skiing. Paddy headed off in his usual excited rush and like a chain reaction, Dan took off after him, followed by Em and Jamie, and then came David and I after the twins. We sailed past the usual right-hand turn off to take us on a breezy trail route to the village. Dan stopped and waited ahead, and as I got closer I saw that Paddy had accidentally led us all to the top of the very runs that David and I were watching people struggle down days earlier. I got this chill in my middle. I had no choice but to tackle the slope before us. There is nothing like the fear of being forced to ski above your ability to get down a mountain. Knowing that you can’t miss a turn despite the extreme difficulty in holding your turn to ensure you don’t face plant. Before I knew it, all the others, resigned to fate, headed off and left me alone, abusing no one but the quiet snow and trees. What could I do? Somehow I had to get down. David was already below me struggling to hold his turns while dodging the moguls. I knew I had to go for it too as my state of panic was only going to amplify the longer I was inactive. I took a deep breath and headed off. I remembered that if you end up on top of a mogul, that is the best place to turn as nothing will interfere with your skis. So it’s easy to make a full turn and slide down the face of the mogul rather than trying to turn around one with more
likelihood of skis getting stuck in the snow. I tried this a couple times, making some progress, hanging close to the edge of the run. My legs were fatiguing and turns lagging as I tried sliding down with my skis facing across the run. But with the moguls in the way, I couldn’t get far before I had to turn. I took some deep breaths. David was about halfway down and I could see Em just below him. The boys out of view down the mountain. Fearless kids! I found that if I actually looked around and saw the beauty in the slope and the surrounds, with the snow, still air and mid-afternoon sun peaking down, I could calm myself enough to enjoy the moment. After some stillness and quiet, I came to actually welcome the challenge of easing down with each turn and seeing myself as a small ant in this vast landscape of mountains and trees. By opening up to the wonder and beauty of my surrounds, I managed to overcome my fear and safely arrive at the café. When I remember back to this trip, it’s that last mogul run that has stayed with me so vividly. I learnt something about myself as our fears are so rarely tested in our comfortable lives.
Fishing with my Dad: Rules to Remember Paddy Julian
2. Toady = - 1 fish. If you have the ill-fated fortune of catching a toady (toadfish), it is considered catching negative one fish. So, don’t bother boasting that you caught a fish at the end of the session, because you are actually worse off than when you arrived having caught no fish. This is because toadies are absolute pests that are sometimes harder to not catch than catch. They are also very hard to get off the hook as they often swallow it, not to mention that they are spiky and poisonous.
Give the fish a kiss. If you do catch a fish deemed worthy (any other fish), you have to give it a kiss before throwing it back. Do not kiss a toady! It might be the last thing you ever do.
There are no friends in the fishing game. This rule comes in many forms. For example, if you are on the pier and someone catches a beauty, you will often see Dad plant himself right next to that person, cast right where they were casting and probably change his bait to what they were using. In extreme circumstances, he may even change his fishing rig to match theirs too. No subtlety at all.
Do your research. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, if you see someone fishing, you must go up to them and ask ‘Any luck?’ If they answer ‘yes’, take note of what they caught, the weather at the time, water conditions and what bait they’re using. Many times in my life, I’d be with friends at the beach or walking along a pier and I‘d see a fisherman and choose not to ask these questions to save the embarrassment. Somehow, Dad would always find out that I didn't ask them and express his disappointment at this lost opportunity.
Be willing to get your hands, clothes and everything else fishy. This one caused a bit of grief for me when I was little. As a kid, I wouldn’t like touching the bait, getting it between my fingernails and on my clothes. To an extent, I think I had a point. Many a time I witnessed my Dad, Uncle Peter or older brother Jamie with fish guts in and around their fingers, do a light rinse of their hands and then eat a sandwich with the same hands. Disgusted, I would turn to one of them holding the bait between the tips of my fingers, like someone holding a dirty tissue and pass it to them to put it on the hook for me. Fifteen years later, they still like to regularly bring this up. As I grew up, I learnt that you have a much better time if you embrace the fact that you’re going to get fishy all over.
When fly fishing, toilet paper is the most important piece of equipment. So many times, I’d find myself on a beautiful river, absolutely no one around and feeling just so part of the surroundings. Until I feel one coming and have to improvise with dry gum leaves or grass as TP and it puts a dampener on the feeling of tranquility. So, you may think that you’re all set with your rod, flies, vest, waders, net, hat, floatant, tippet, etc. But, don’t forget the TP. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more freeing than a good bush bog. You feel truly at one with nature. But, you need TP. Or it isn’t much fun.
If it’s good weather, go for a skinny dip. Dad believes a swim is the perfect way to finish a fishing session and is a big advocate for the ‘au naturel’ method. This would leave me and all the other kids running for the hills to which he would quote Kath and Kim and say ‘it’s only natural, you know, we all got one.’
Always park in the getaway position. Dad learnt this one from his best mate Philip. Rather than parking up by the river or pier willy nilly, turn the car around with the front facing the escape route. I’m still to this day not really sure that this is necessary. But Philip insists on doing so, as you never know what is going to happen during a fishing session.
You must always find time for a Paddle Pop. At the end of the session, or in the middle, or before, or whenever, you must find time to swing by the local milk bar, servo or Bendy Kate’s to get a banana Paddle Pop. You can get chocolate or rainbow if you’re feeling extra crazy.
SCAN TO CHECK IN Sunny: Sounds of Spring
(A) Human (B)eing Yvette Godby
Every day I experience alternating moments of absolute clarity and of blind ignorance, only I can’t tell one from the other. This is one of those moments and I’ll
have to let you decide, at the end, whether or not I’m making any sense. At some point this year I learnt that my body is not a vessel for my brain.
That if I am a human being, then I must be both (a), a human and (b), a being. I also learnt that a fact like that, something obvious and known, can be magical.
The first time I ever laid eyes on a university lecturer, I saw a mind with legs. His body’s role was to transport his consciousness from one destination to the next. You can always tell when people regard themselves this way by looking at their shoes. They're practical shoes and by that I mean they are not shoes that spark joy. They are plain and reliable and most likely have orthotic insoles. The breed of academic I’m describing will likely still make attempts at self-expression through clothing, a print on a tie or a shirt that is appropriately playful. One of my favourite lecturers had a very full grey beard and a shirt printed with tiny Captain America shields.
He wore it with a sense of irony that said “I’m teaching you but I’m one of you”. The shirt was quite snug so the little circular shields on his belly were more like
ovals. He was far more focused on the “being” part of human being. I imagine that his happy place is the inside of his own skull. Sometimes the inside of my head is a nice place to be and sometimes it isn’t.
When I spend time in that weird place behind my eyes, my mind can make a lot of noise and ask itself confusing questions of great consequence.
But before I take the plunge into a transformative epiphany equipped with a new and valuable perspective, I snap out of my daydream and scold myself for being away with the fairies again. I feel as if my attention span is shrinking smaller and smaller all the time, as if eventually thoughts will end as soon as they occur and I’ll have no control. I don’t know if this is
actually true or if I just enjoy thinking that a past version of myself was somehow smarter than I am now despite having lived less life. I like to blame my scatterbrain on social media because it’s easy and seems about right, but the truth is that I like the internet. The sense of global consciousness that you and I contribute to everyday; this unreal network of information that transcends the space that’s been long forgotten.
I’ve become so tangled in it that my search history echoes my train of thought. My pixels are me and I am my pixels. I call it self-expression. I breathe life into the cables until they’re warm to me, like veins. If it wasn’t so addictive, I’d say it’s kind of magical in the sense that it’s too big and complicated for me to understand. When I was a kid I not only believed in magic but I also
thought I was magical. This belief was reinforced with every visit from my grandma Judy, who my family lovingly acknowledge is a bit loopy. She would give me crystal necklaces and tell me I was “special”. The realisation at age 11 that I was not going to receive my Hogwarts letter was tough. Little pre-teen me burned through the first six of the seven stages of grief: shock and denial, pain, anger, depression, the upward turn and reconstruction. Now, aged 22 and only slightly more mature, I still don’t think I’m ready for stage seven: acceptance. Not that I can’t accept the non-existence of the Wizarding World — I can. However, I refuse to accept that magic isn’t real. It’s taken a global pandemic to give me enough time with my own thoughts to figure out why. Like so many people, I took up running when shit hit the fan in 2020. I wanted to do something with my body that had nothing to do with my
brain. I wanted to run away from the news, my room, my mind. As I pulled air into my lungs and pushed it out, I thought about the unlikelihood of something as simple as breathing actually working to propel my body forward. We’re all taught in primary school how it works chemically. We suck in this invisible matter, oxygen, harvested from the plants around us who equally absorb the carbon dioxide that we blow out. I could understand how it worked, but that didn’t make it any less amazing to me in this moment- when I’m gasping for air trying to go further, faster.
of us — or anything around us — existing in the first place. Nature’s balance is so precarious, the fact that it works so seamlessly is miraculous. Maybe it was runner’s high, and maybe it was always obvious to everyone but me, but it really felt like an epiphany. Science is just the rules that some people found to help us understand magic, which is just the stuff that happens every day. I wish I could tell my 11-year-old self to look at a bird in the sky, like I am right now, and know that it’s magical. Even if it’s not a dragon, how could you look at an elephant and tell me that it’s not other-worldly?
I’ve never really been a religious person, but I started wondering who or what could come up with something as random as “breathing” to be a life-force. I thought that the probability of breathing working to keep us all alive must be as slim as the chances of any
When you sit at your desk in high school for the first time, know that biology isn’t boring just because someone is explaining to you in a lab coat instead of a cloak. The laws of nature are spells. Nature is magic and you are a human that gets to be in it.
Because why the hell should that work?
Your world is small and huge and mystical.
A Small Amount of Mischief HENRY LENG
Capture the Flag Noa Shenker
Do you remember playing capture the flag as a kid? I’d forgotten. I’d forgotten the euphoria of scheming and plotting, the thrill of evading capture, the adrenaline of scabbed knees and envious triumph. And then, all of a sudden, I remembered again. It’s really fun. Like, out of breath in the best way possible, laughing till your ribs hurt, almost peeing yourself levels of super fucking fun. Camping in the crevices of Lake Eildon over the summer, those memories of joy rushed back to me in a dizzying haze, canvased by the sights and sounds of a rural Australia I’d almost forgotten as well. The second afternoon of a camping trip with friends up north saw trickles of boredom leak into our tents. As most twenty-one-year-olds do, we hiked and drank and laughed our days away. But as the lunch table was wiped up, and the already stale home-brand wraps put away, my friends and I had a revelatory idea. Makeshift flags were made up of dirty rags and hand towels, teams were evenly split up, and off we went. We hadn’t played a game like that since we were little kids. Traipsing over trunks, hiding between bushes, rolling through mud and dirt – under the harshness of an Aussie summer sun, sunscreen freshly dripping down our necks in balls of sweat, our flimsy sense of adulthood slipped away into the trees. You might’ve thought someone was being murdered if you’d only heard the shrill screams coming from our campsite, but the sight of us scrambling to find those hidden flags was almost a religious one. The cacophony of our shouts and giggles were matched only by the melodies of the birds up above, and the distant rush of running water. We played for hours, our mouths hurting just as much as our stiff legs from the smiles perpetually plastered across our
sunburnt faces. The joy was as ubiquitous as the fresh air, the liberation as refreshing as the nearby lake. There was no opportunity to wash off the bliss that found itself burrowing in my skin beneath the layers of zinc; the sun stayed stuck on me from dawn to dusk, and I felt the heat of its rays warming me inside-out. The sun didn’t feel like that back home. And when night fell, the sun found a worthy replacement in the stars, no longer hidden by the blistering brightness of city lights. I remember looking across at my friends, smiles alight by the orange glow of our small fire, subjects of a portrait framed by the shadows of trees dancing behind their backs. I remember feeling myself soften to the nature around me. So many months stuck inside, countless days isolated from the outside world, and suddenly it had all dissolved into the darkness.
The kind of ecstasy on our faces was imperceptible to the naked eye, only visible under the starlight found in the density of the bush. I found myself re-evaluating my relationship to the natural world, understanding that this geographic aloneness made our togetherness so much easier. As much as the city is my home, those few days enveloped by the fresh air, cradled lovingly by the branching arms of the Eucalyptuses and the Blue Gums, I felt at peace.
Water at our Door James Toogood
PHOTO: OLIVIA DAVIS
PHOTO: OLIVIA DAVIS
Perspective Izzie Hannebery
Astronomers think that there are two trillion galaxies in the observable universe. To put 'trillion' into perspective: 1 million seconds is 11.5 days, 1 billion seconds is 32 years, and 1 trillion seconds is 32,000 years. 1
This region is called the ‘Goldilocks’ zone, where conditions are just right for life. 2
I wish I stood back and took notice of the bigger picture more. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get wound up and tangled in worries that seem to dwarf everything else. In the moment, they feel like the biggest thing in the world. But it’s only when I zoom out and take in life for what it really is that I realise that the tiny things I fixate on are just that: tiny. I love to learn. And some of the most grounding things that I’ve learnt are through astronomy. Merely looking up at the stars I feel grounded. When I hold up my pinky finger to the sky at arm’s length, it covers millions of galaxies. Millions.1 My brain can’t even begin to wrap itself around that. For life on Earth to be here, so many things had to align. Our planet had to be formed at the perfect distance away from our Sun. Any closer and temperatures would soar to blistering levels, any further and everything freezes.2 Gargantuan planets like Saturn and Jupiter are placed perfectly around us so that their gravity shields
Our orbit is delicately balanced between gravity which tugs us towards the Sun and Earth’s velocity which wants to carry us away into space. Increased gravity disrupts this balance and contorts the shape of our orbit, pulling us close to the Sun. 3
us from incoming space rocks and lifethreatening asteroids. The piece of rock that formed our moon is just the right size and distance away to balance us. If it was closer, increased tides would cause our planet to be overrun with monster waves, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. If it was further away or gone completely, our Earth would wobble and we would face extreme seasons. Species that rely on our tides would be wiped out, and our ancient sea ancestors may have never been created in the first place. The atmosphere that has formed around our planet cushions our world from deadly cosmic rays flying around in space. This is only held in place by the precise amount of gravity on Earth. Any less gravity and the air we breathe would drift off, and our planet would be left in the unforgiving vacuum of space.3 Any more gravity and our orbit would be sent off kilter, flinging us towards the sun. I could go on and on. So many lucky coincidences have allowed our planet to form the way it did. Many
These series of events are delicately affected by ‘sliding doors moments’, which are seemingly insignificant instances that impact the direction of the future. The term was popularised by 1998 film Sliding Doors, which investigates how missing or catching a train hugely impacts the course of the protagonist’s life. 4
The word ‘sonder’ has been coined to describe this feeling. Sonder: the realisation that each passer-by is living a life as vivid as yours. 5
more had to happen for that first seed of life to spark from inanimate molecules billions of years ago. And the perfect series of events had to align in the lives of your ancestors, grandparents, and parents for you to be created.4 I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are all so unexplainably lucky to be here right now. When you realise how things have come together like that for us to enjoy the world that we have, it gives you more appreciation of everything around you. One tiny change and none of it would be here. There’s something beautiful about that. Sometimes I just stop and take it all in as if it’s for the first time. Going for a walk and looking up at the blueness of the sky. Hearing the sound of birds that chirp and race each other across the trees, all different species and colours and types. People passing by on bikes, or walking or running. Dogs barking and chasing tennis balls. Children playing and laughing in the grass. Sometimes I look at each person I pass and can’t fathom the idea that they all have families, worries, homes, memories, lives as complex as my own.5
The truth is that none of us have any idea what we are doing. We’re in the middle of a never-ending expanse of space and no one fully knows why or how it all came to be, but we’re all here and we’re here together. When you step back and realise these things, the tiny worries completely melt away. A few quotes that have stuck with me are
by astronauts that have gone all the way out to the moon and looked back at Earth: Space Quotations. 2021. Top 10 Most Famous Earth Quotes said by Astronauts. [online]
“AS WE GOT FURTHER AND FURTHER AWAY, THE EARTH DIMINISHED IN SIZE. FINALLY IT SHRANK TO THE SIZE OF A MARBLE, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL YOU CAN IMAGINE. THAT BEAUTIFUL, WARM, LIVING OBJECT LOOKED SO FRAGILE, SO DELICATE, THAT IF YOU TOUCHED IT WITH A FINGER IT WOULD CRUMBLE AND FALL APART.” – JAMES B. IRWIN, APOLLO 15 ASTRONAUT 6
Inspiring Quotes. 2021. Anousheh Ansari Quotes and Sayings. [online]
“IF PEOPLE CAN SEE EARTH FROM UP HERE, SEE IT WITHOUT THOSE BORDERS, SEE IT WITHOUT ANY DIFFERENCES IN RACE OR RELIGION, THEY WOULD HAVE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. BECAUSE WHEN YOU SEE IT FROM THAT ANGLE, YOU CANNOT THINK OF YOUR HOME OR YOUR COUNTRY. ALL YOU CAN SEE IS ONE EARTH....” — ANOUSHEH ANSARI, SPACE TOURIST 7
Phactual.com. n.d. 14 Awe-Filled Quotes About ‘The Overview Effect’ From Outer Space | Phactual.com. [online]
“WHEN I FIRST LOOKED BACK AT THE EARTH, STANDING ON THE MOON, I CRIED.” — ALAN SHEPARD, APOLLO 14 ASTRONAUT 8
Life can be such a chaotic whirlwind and it’s so easy to fall into a routine of constantly going from one thing to the next. Lockdowns have given us no choice but to stop completely, which I think can be a good thing. It has allowed me to really sit back, think, and put things into perspective.
Spring Skin Sarah Hooper
You’re lying on a towel in your over-grown backyard, bikini straps coiled up and tucked under the thin fabric covering your chest in two triangles. It’s 25 degrees today but it feels like 30 because you’ve been searing yourself in Australian sun for the last 45 minutes.
Sweat is beaded over every inch of you but there’s still 15 minutes to go on this side before you can take a break. The sun in spring isn’t as strong as it is in summer so you’ve gotta put in the time. You remind yourself that this is a necessary inconvenience. Soon you’ll be living in bikinis and skirts and h ere will on crop tops. T few su ly be a n ny d
s before t h en.
You’ve got a podcast playing through your headphones and the women in your ears are talking about some red carpet from the night before: who looked good, who didn't. You get photos of the looks they’re describing up on your phone and squint to see if you agree with their takes. You don't, but you enjoy hearing their thoughts nonetheless. You hear the next-door-neighbour’s lawnmower start and instinctively want to cover up but remind yourself that you aren’t doing anything wrong by existing within your flesh in your own backyard. You try to relax: it is not your duty to censor your body to avoid making others uncomfortable. Your body does not exist to be perceived, but to be safe and relished in. Then you remember why you’ve been subjecting your skin to pain for the last 50 minutes and wonder if you’re a hypocrite.
There’s an itch at your right shin and you look up to see it’s an ant. It bites your flesh so you squash it dead. That dead ant smell fills your nostrils and your gut drops. You remember unmarked days of childhood where your family friend poured boiling water on an ant trail on his deck. You want to cry like you might have done then but you don’t. You wipe the tiny carcass into the dirt and hope the little soul finds some peace in being returned to the earth. Your phone alarm interrupts the little bug burial and relief washes over you. You un-tuck the bikini straps and tie them up at the back of your neck. You get to rest now. All that stands in your way is getting up and walking inside. You grab the t-shirt sitting sprawled in the grass and squeeze your eyes shut. Breath in: you swing yourself into a sitting position and pull your shirt over your head. Breath out: you’re covered.
Safe inside, you take off your bikinis and spray aloe vera mist over your skin. It is cool and smells like summer's gone. You look over the results of your hard work while you air-dry. You’ve made your first tan lines of the coming hot season and pride swells in your chest. Your elastic skin has deepened slightly to a bronzed-red. You’ve done a good job. You turn to look at your back, eyeing the moles scattered like constellations. You tell yourself you’ll finally go get that mole map done, but you know you probably won’t. You’re beautiful now. Or at least you’ll feel that way for the rest of the day.
The Mouldy Red Couch Callen Neasmith
Today I lay stretched out on the mouldy red couch in my backyard, drenched in warmth and sunlight. An infectious sense of happiness paints a smile across my face after an otherwise ordinary week on the tools. I feel a sense of relief after overcoming an otherwise challenging previous month. I had been trying so hard to be “happy” and to be “fine” with the current climate of life — a less-than-fun realisation. It was no rut in which I had the knowledge to deal with — I ran through my feel-good playbook: two showers a day, an hour of walking, plug the decks in, confide in a friend. Meticulous, monotonous, dejecting — nothing was working. What was missing? A glassy break at Winkipop, rolling hills in Kilcunda, a fiery sunset closing out over
Apollo Bay, late night dinner plans in Phillip Island or was it a BBQ in the Chapman Yard. No. Wait. Shit. The thought of that made things worse. I recently started riding my bike again. Today, I rode past an ocean of police in the CBD, couples lined along the Yarra River, Demon Supporters flooding Burnley Park, a cornucopia of wildlife along the Capital City Trail, a panorama of Melbourne at the Yarra Bend, picnickers sprawled across the parklands of Edinburgh and Carlton Gardens, before finishing in a state of pure ecstasy at Royal Park. Today, I saw Melbourne with fresh eyes. That’s why I'm smiling like an idiot, stretched out on the mouldy red couch.
We Are Sunny
Yvette's Garden IONA JULIAN-WALTERS
Writers Artists Designers Friends Family Readers Lovers Listeners Angels Devils Burners Mentors Pioneers Housemates High School Crushes Regulars Pets Godparents Students Punters Neighbours Lollipop Men Whoever You May Be
NOVEMBER 2020 BRUNSWICK, VIC
Sunny Press Issue 01
With ♥ From
Callen Neasmith Paddy Julian