Me. In the ocean at home. Last time I visited.

It’s 30 days until Lil Mermaid and I step out of that great steel bird and step foot into my homelands. Chris and his Dad will be taking the three day drive up, bringing our four wheel drive and the puppy dogs. I thought about taking Mermaid Daughter #1 by car and making it our first family roadtrip… But three days? 2000kms? With fluffy puppies? And a four month old that has a 30 minute or less tolerance of ze car? I decided a plane would be the gentlest option for us all.

I’m already imagining the flight… Watching the land change from southern brown alpine lands with lilac mountains to flat muted plains littered with dams. Flying up the coast, watching the ocean get more and more turquoise blue. The land becoming a feast of lush green, palm trees, swaying sugarcane fields. Finally, the shapes of the deep blue mountains meld into the form of the range that I know by heart. The plane will descend over cattle farms, before (softly) hitting the tiny runway they chase kangaroos from. The doors will open, and holding my first daughter, I will step out into the Proserpine air. And I will cry – as I always do at my first taste of Proserpine air. How do I describe to you how it all rushes in, humid and tasting of ocean and sky and trees and life? Every molecule of it is dancing and alive. I will gulp it in, as I always do, and wonder how I survived and breathed without it.

And we will walk down the steps on to the tarmac, and with that first step, my feet, legs, body sinking into the earth I love so much, I will whisper to my daughter:

we are home…

and we will be, for the first time in a long time. This time we are coming home, and we are we are staying home.

I can still scarcely believe my luck.

We will walk towards the terminal – that’s more like a big, glorious light-filled shed. And I will see my dad’s big black curly bears first, then I will see him begin to cry, but he will pretend he’s not. That’s the way it’s always been with our hellos and goodbyes since I left home at 16 for boarding school (now I am crying writing this).

And I will hear my big sister squeal bonnnnyyyyyy
(my childhood nickname). It’s been a year since I have seen my Capricornian twin who is two years older. It will be the first time she has met my daughter. And usually she would run at me and throw herself on me until we fell down, but this time I will be holding precious cargo, so we will settle instead for tear-filled group hugs, and she will probably lick my face (because that’s how my family roll).

And my Dad will get all baby-clucky, the way he does. He will take Mermaid Daughter  in his big dark suntanned arms and say aren’t you beautiful? Look how much you’ve grown! You’re just so beautiful! (Is it any wonder why my first word was beautiful?)

Then we will drive into town and see my Magnificent Grandmother. I will pour kisses on her and tell her I’m the luckiest girl to be her granddaughter. Then we will drive to her old cottage that is our new cottage. And I will hold Starry as I walk over the verandah, hearing the creak of the 100 year old floorboards, taking in the high ceilings, the grooved wooden walls, walking from room to room, wondering what our life will be like to live between that wood.

That cottage has my ancestry and history in it. In that house I saw for the last time my grandfather, step-grandfather, two uncles and my brother, all before they made their own rainbow journeys. These are not morbid memories, oh no. They are filled with joy and love and tears. When we move in it will be nearly 14 years to the day I stood on that verandah and said goodbye to my brother. He had come home to Proserpine to put down flooring in the kitchen for my grandmother’s birthday. When he left he put his long arms around me, and gave me a sweet, close hug. I remember being surprised at its gentleness – at 14 (me) and 25 (he), we were more likely to barrel around with playful bear hugs. But no, this hug was gentle and loving. He looked into my eyes with his blue eyes sparkling and said

I will see you soon, Bony.

And I believed him. I still do.

A week later, he died in a farm accident, doing what he loved.

A part of me believes a part of him knew it was our last physical hug on Earth this time around. And that maybe a part of me knew too.

Oh the softness, the tenderness, the loveliness. This whole world is filled with our stories, isn’t it? The big ones, the sad ones, the true ones, the joyful ones. They all point to one simple truth: this living thing is profound.

I will kiss the cottage goodbye as a see-you-soon, and we will drive out through the canefields to the base of my beloved mountains. To where the rivers meet, to our farmhouse, to the retreat we are creating. My mama will be there, glowing that her beloved children (and now grandchild) are returning home to nest and roost.

That week, I will see my beautiful brother Brett, and squeeze him until tears come out of us both. And cuddle my loveliest SILly (sis-in-law). And gasp at how big my precious niece and nephew are getting. And I will meet my beautiful new niece Paige, the little goddess I photographed in her mama’s belly last time I was home. She was born the same week Mermaid Daughter #1 was conceived. Those two will go to school together, and teach us all in the way these strong new goddesses do.

We will visit the graveyard, as we always did when we were kids. Mama would take a picnic with us, and we would spend the morning there. My Great Aunt Lucy (who is definitely a descendant of the fairy folk with her bright red hair and childish giggle) would say:

I love coming here. It’s just like visiting old friends.

and she was right.

We will visit my brother’s grave, and I will tell Mermaid Daughter:

This is your Uncle Clinty. Do you remember how he helped you down out of the stars? How the night I wasn’t sure if you were staying or going, he visited me and said I was to be a mama? Do you remember? He lives you so, Starry.

And me and Starry and sissy will go visit our old highschool friend Akiah in town. At thirteen, we were trying to astral travel and teaching ourselves ritual. Now Akiah owns the first spiritual store in Proserpine. I am incredibly proud of her, and so excited to bring spirit with her into Proserpine. We will talk, and laugh at Akiah’s prophecy of our homecoming coming true. I will buy a big stick of grandfather sage and me, sissy and Starry will cleanse our new cottage together.

We will make that old old cottage anew. We will prepare it for my love to arrive, ready for my new family to call it home.

Honouring the old, clearing away, making space and light for all the beauty to come.

It feels like a sacred theme.

It’s been twelve years since I could legitimately call Proserpine my home, but it is what I have always called it in my heart.

I’ve left Proserpine to go to boarding school, to go to university, to move across the country with my love to a city. I always knew that one day would come when I would return home to raise my children in the land I love so much.

And now the day has come.

There is a magic to the place I grew up. After all, why else would they name it Proserpine after the Goddess of Spring? And how else could I grow up to be anything but a goddess with a homelands like this?

In writing this, I finally see: I have fulfilled the legacy of Proserpine. She had to leave her mother Demeter to find love with Hades. I had to adventure away to find myself and become a lover and a mother before I could return.

I am blessed. Heart-full. Hopeful. Hopelessly in love with the way this world works in miracles.

I am going home.

In my heart, perhaps I already am.

Here’s what it’s like to wake up there… this is me almost exactly a year ago… a week before our mermaid daughter was conceived.

Waking up at home, Proserpine from Goddess Leonie on Vimeo.

I can’t wait to share the land I love with you.

big love you, big skies, big home,