Time out, time away, time to breathe…
I have a personal tradition that I try to celebrate every birthday on Maria Island, not far from where we live. I’ve been doing it for years and have visited the island too many times to count. Not just for birthdays but for any boating day during the year. It has a unique air, an island away from an island. The days are always enchanted and enchanting.
This was one such.
We spent the day on the northern end (normally we head to the middle or south) and walked.
And walked and walked.
Fifteen kms around the coastline,
along the edge of the slope to Bishop and Clark (the mountainous northern end of the island).
Through the bush to a reservoir.
Down to the convict settlement of Darlington, into buildings and out again.
One moment as we trudged along, there was an ear-splitting crack, a ragged screech and a massive branch fell from a tall eucalypt just to the right of us.
And we remembered how the early settlers called eucalypts ‘widowmakers’. It was perfectly still in the bush and such branches always fall after wind. Last week there had been gales.
So to a point, I was researching. I have a hist.fict novel planned about convict era Maria Island and there was a different energy this day – voices whispering from the past, souls drifting, feelings noted.
Or, as I wrote recently in another novel (Michael, Book Three OF the Triptych Chronicle):
Chasing a wisp of mist, a skein of memory…’
The sadness of a grave for a child of one year and one month of age…
I made friends with the wildlife. None seemed to care if I was there or not. Who are you? Do we care?
And finally, with throbbing feet, taking shoes off on the beach and wading out knee-deep, thinking that the next day’s 26 won’t come quickly enough – first swim of this summer.
We wandered beneath the avenue of marcocarpa back to the jetty and I was reminded of my first experience of that avenue when I was a young child in primary school. The avenue resonated with ‘imagination’.
Later, in my final year of Matriculation College I was to write a short-story and incorporate Maria Island and the avenue and won a state award for the story. Perhaps that was the real beginning of my desire to write for a living.
Life has been full this year, filled with harsh negatives and many positives. Amongst all the activity – fitting in writing for three anthologies as well as pursuing the end of the latest novel.
To spend today on the island – balm to the body and soul.