“You’re finally settling down?” Friends are intrigued.
“Well, no. We still travel but on home land, not foreign.” We explain.
I’ve discovered that travel is your mind’s view, not just your eyes’. Our own park-land replaces far-flung cultures. We still explore exotic communities, only this location fits better, like a warm, floppy jumper.
Now, the tender whicker from a happy horse saying g’day replaces the mellow swish of parting ocean waves.
The travel-music of boisterous, hull-pounding seas is usurped by sixteen strong hooves thundering against native grasses, feisty back-legs hurled in the air just for the hell of it! Their hoof-beats are my heart-beats.
Before, when watching thick fog roll over the vast plains of salt water to swallow us into its chilly wisps, my shoulders rose up to my ears as I tensed sensing unseen dangers. Now, as the mist claims our valley I calmly ignore the night-time brisk that nips at my extremities, and I witness the white swirls settle as a waterfall would slide into a river.
There’s no town illumination to dampen the cosmic display. The clear nights reveal mystifying galaxies that hang above us with such clarity that a sharp intake of breath could draw them in. The blackness is so silent we whisper, fearful that the glass stars may shatter.
Fragrant black coffee wafts through our tiny, temporary home, the steam rising in sync with the morning mist. The tang of sweet smelling grass, earthy mud, sun-cream, grainy horse feed, burning logs, damp socks – are the aromas of fulfillment.
The mileage may be limited, but not my journey or freedom. Seventy acres of undulating heaven needs care, as do we. The steep-hill-exercise will keep us fit and strong long into our dotage. We take care of the land, it takes care of us.
As I take in the surroundings, I notice the vibrant bush fights for supremacy along the ridges and tall trees become custodian to flitting birds; a playground of leafy limbs for our feathery friends.
Proud gums come alive with squawks and chirps. Rainbow lorikeets flash by, flapping fire-red, ocean-blue and deep-sea green; in a pause between the cacophony the Kookaburras cut the stillness with a hearty cackle, are they laughing at us?
The creek hums a lullaby as it roams along pink and grey rocks painting them a shiny black. The clear icy water strays along the sandy bed carving new paths after flood rain, pushing at reeds that wave a farewell.
We’re creating our own travel history on romantic moors and enticing peaks. I’m awash with besotted intrigue – what’s around the next corner? Is that a new tree? Beautiful weeds are classed as noxious. I fight for control pulling, bagging, burning the grasses that want to take over but are not permitted. It’s hard labour that keeps my butt tight with effort, just like the constant moving on a sailboat during our sea voyages.
On the land, marauding wombats scratch cavernous holes under the cover of darkness, leading into a labyrinth of tunnels, like giant rabbit warrens. Beneath the scorching sun, wedged-tailed eagles swoop on air currents, their splendid tableau unique to them. Ants scurry within their mounded battlefields ready to take on a giant human at a moment’s notice.
Evening comes too fast, but we greet her with a cool beer and dirt-smudged faces. My hands feel the stretch of dryness and the sting of cracks, sore muscles remind me that I’ve achieved middle-age, my torn, grubby clothes don’t matter because I wear a bright, satisfied smile.
Travel changes you. You change while everything back at home stays the same. Here, at our home, there’s a surprising synchronicity – time, place and people are changing together. Noel and I are in harmony. A perfect choir of love.
But as with each journey, my soul is reshaped. I’ve bid farewell to places where I know I’ll miss the people and the lands, but also a part of me because I’ll never be that way again.
I wonder what part of me I’ll leave in which corner of our natural Disneyland. And what new thoughts and outlooks I’ll collect to replace what I’ve left behind; refreshing my layers with a view for every occasion.
My motto: ‘Be an encourager, there are far too many critics in the world already.’
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