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Western Junction: A Lifetime Ago

James Walker
Acrylic on MDF triptych • 12 × 12 cm

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For a little over 10 years, I worked as a baggage handler at Launceston airport.
It feels like that time has collapsed into scattered memories and vague recollections of people and space but I do recall the landscape markers and the weather extremes.
Many days and nights were spent trying to keep dry or out of the wind but it was in vain. Sometimes the aircraft offered shelter, or at least a slight reprieve, but the reality was an uncomfortable experience within a 35-minute turnaround window.
A lasting memory is watching the landing lights approaching from miles away. To see the flickering light through the atmosphere gradually increase to eventually be accompanied by the silhouette of an aircraft and the engine noise.
I could watch this from my house long after I’d left my job at the airport and it always stirred a memory of sitting on the tug waiting for the aircraft to land so I could go home.