The past few months have been full of changes and challenges in my life and my usual sunny demeanor and self assuredness have been rocked and rebalanced, awakening to a newer view with eyes wide open. My pen has been silent. My mind has been busy. My tears have flowed. Creativity has been brought to life through the paintbrush instead of the pen and it’s spirit has been free and easy. My internal spirit, however has struggled. Losing 3 friends to cancer, hit me hard and had me re-examining my own mortality as we passed through autumn leading into winter here in Australia. In the northern hemisphere, spring has passed and they are celebrating summer. The darkest and lightest day brought new connections here and a source of peaceful support. I find myself reflecting on the big changes that have occurred during planetary changes in my life. This ones a big one! The nitty gritty truth of life and family, memories and new horizons, importance, all come to play in the seasons of 2012.
In April, Rachel and I set out for a mother, daughter trip into the heart of Australia. I had my new little economical car we nicknamed “Bubbles” to depend upon. Rachel had her “L”‘s clinging to the front and rear windows, displaying her new freedom in learning to drive. We were on a trip of a lifetime in her 16th year! A trip riddled with interesting twists and turns to come.
My dear friend, Andrew passed away the morning we set forth on our journey and I received the news as the last bag was packed tightly into the car. It seemed too soon to lose such a beautiful man with so much to give. It all happened so fast and left such a huge hole in the heart of our little theatre family at Noosa Arts. Our tears flowed as we drove north. I remembered our promise to sing for him in Kings Canyon.
We stopped at Cameron’s and shared our journey with his family. I will never forget all of Ian’s advice about potholes and kangaroos! Leone asked for a food report upon our return, as to where we ate the best pies. I am still lacking a verdict on that one. Her olive loaf was given to us to munch on in our travels and we had lovely snacks of bread with cheese to keep our awareness up while driving. She too, was in our hearts as we drove on. As Leone battled the end of a long journey with cancer with more grace than I have ever witnessed, Rachel and I checked our air pressure and were on our way, exploring throughout our drive, the essence of life.
We stopped to visit a fellow koala friend at the “Flying High Bird Sanctuary” and enjoyed the free flight birds and friends we met there. We mined for sapphires in mounds of dirt in Emerald. We stood atop huge bolders created long ago in “Devil’s Marbles”. The further we travelled, the closer we came to the ancients. It felt like being in the land of the dinosaurs. Each town had whispers of the past. We listened to “The Host” by Stephenie Myer in a series of discs that broke up the monotony of many miles with nothing in sight but the mirage of heat on the dusty road. We witnessed suicidal butterflies and dodged kangaroos, emus and cows! Many great discussions and debates were had. When we reached Kings Canyon, we celebrated under a blanket of stars. We sang in the Garden of Eden and I dropped a token stone in the clear waters in memory of my friend. Andrew was with me in his spiritual home amongst those walls. I could feel his presence and felt peace there. His wife Di was with us in Uluru as we all said goodbye from near and far and celebrated the man he was. It was April 11, which is also my “Special Day”.
In Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the technical difficulties began. First, my computer died and I lost what I had written thus far on our trip. I also could not skype for that interview. I didn’t get the job, but realised that this was for the best for many reasons. We met some camels! We met Esther. I was offered a job there! Perhaps I will explore that one in the future. We slept under more stars than I have ever seen. The milky way lit up the night and the moon was full. The pull was powerful.
Then the camera died! A true death it was, with no hope for repair and brand new! Well, at least I had taken plenty of photos and video footage before it died so breathe in and breathe out! More challenges but I still had my phone camera. Then, the phone kept losing charge!!!! Rachel had her phone so we used that…. I knew there must be lessons in this but in the midst of them, I hadn’t found my answers just yet. We drove on and found ourselves in a lovely hotel cut into the rocks underground in Coober Pedy. We witnessed a magnificent sunset there and encountered more flies than I ever could have imagined. The phone camera served us! We drove on. The speed limit was sometimes 130km/hr and the road was neverending. Fuel was incredibly expensive! We camped and cooked food over fire. We drank champagne. We left the electronic world behind and simply sat in each other’s company often struggling with our mutual and independent inner battles. I’d like to think it brought my daughter and I closer and to a new level of our evergrowing relationship.
Then there was Port Augusta! We entered the town after a long day of driving. Rachel was at the wheel. I gave directions and then our journey was halted as another vehicle slammed into the passenger side front corner! Poor “Bubbles”! That challenge was the most challenging of all! We were in shock but we met another new friend, Sherilee! We communicated with our family and with each other. We cried and we healed. We coped, sometimes. Frequent flyer mileage and hotel points saved us so we made the best of it by going to the “Wadlata Outback Center” and that was fascinating. We explored aboriginal history of the area and we walked everywhere. We took a bus to Adelaide and after weeks of camping and cabins, we stayed in luxury with a great view from the 17th floor at the Intercontinental! A spa and a meal and then a flight home and our mother /daughter journey ended in a whirlwind. Only 14 days had passed and I began my month without wheels. Bubbles was left behind in South Australia and life continued on the Sunshine Coast, business as usual but without a car. From that day onward is Journey Part 2 so stay tuned…….