Queensland, Australia, July 2021
On February 12 I caught my first flight since March 15, 2021. That last flight was a fleeting visit to see my mother in rehab. This recent trip was again to visit our family Matriarch, housebound like those the world over since COVID hit.
Arriving at Brisbane airport and boarding that flight to Gadigal country (Sydney) was a strange yet familiar experience, and it was tainted with the reality that as I cleared security in the state of Queensland, those down south in Victoria were being thrown into another state of flux with forced lockdown once again.
The country over felt the enormous stress Melbournians in particular were suffering. I knew it was a privilege for me to move across state lines, and still feel safe.
In November 2020 I drove to Sydney to spend six weeks on the ground with Mum, but when Sydney’s Northern Beaches classified a hotspot the week before Christmas, I was forced to pack quickly and leave for Brisbane 10 days earlier than expected. I drove those 12 hours back to the Sunshine State and my tears fell as constantly as the rain. A wave of relief washed over me as I crossed the New South Wales / Queensland border before the 1am on deadline set by the Government. Had I not made it in time, I faced 14 days in quarantine, over Christmas and into the New Year.
Arriving back into Sydney in February was a blessing, even if it meant only two days on the ground. I didn’t see anyone other than family because time was precious, but I snuck out to my favourite beach twice, Maroubra, to run.
Recently, I flew again to Sydney, but as I took to the air Greater Brisbane went into lockdown again. When I landed I was forced into three days ISO, but I was still lucky. I was with Mum, and my love for her is greater than anything else.
Dr Anita Heiss (Queensland, Australia) is the award-winning author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women’s fiction, children’s novels and travel articles. She is a proud member of the Wiradjuri Nation of central NSW, an Ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, the GO Foundation and Worawa Aboriginal College. Anita is a board member of the State Library of Queensland, the University of Queensland Press and Circa. She is a Professor of Communications at the University of QLD and artist in residence at La Boitte Theatre, currently adapting her novel Tiddas for the stage. Her novel Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms is the 2020 University of Canberra Book of the Year. Anita enjoys eating chocolate, running half-marathons and being a ‘creative disruptor’.