When I was in high school, I remember a conversation with a guy. We weren’t particularly close, and we rarely spoke, and yet the conversation has stayed in my head all these years, until I know why I remembered them.
Me, attempting to make conversation: Where did you go on holidays?
His eyes are alight in a way I hadn’t seen before, bar the times he spoke of partying and drugs. It’s always broken my heart when only those things can alight a soul… especially when there’s so much beauty in this world you know? So much beauty to love and marvel at.
But yes. He was alight. In a way I hadn’t seen before.
Me, instantly curious, needing to find out why he has been affected, but of course maintaining my inner decorum, grace and placid nature that I am eternally the embodiment of:
OMG OMG OMG TELL ME MORE WHY WHY WHY DID YOU LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT SOOOO MUCH??? TELL ME TELL MEEEEEEEE NOWWWWWW
Him: I don’t know. The earth up there, Leonie. It’s not dirt. It’s soil. The rainforest is incredible… I’ve just never experienced anything like it. The trees. The soil. It’s just so ancient, it gave me goosebumps. It wasn’t dirt. It was rich and fertile and filled with layers. It was true soil. I sound like an idiot talking about it. But I can’t say anything more than that: it wasn’t dirt, it was soil.
And now I find myself wandering the very rainforests he spoke of, crouching in the soil, feeling that magic too.
At the cafe (named Crystal Cafe, of course) I get to talking to the sweet, bright eyed owner who moonlights as a pole dance teacher.
“Everyone here has their thing,” she says. “You’ll like it. Everyone is interesting here. Just like you.”
At work one day, in Canberra.
Another one of those conversations that stays in my head, seemingly at random, until one day it’s not.
There is a man there, a brother from another mother, descended from the same cosmic womb as me.
We spend an inordinate amount of cubicle time playing horsey and carriage, in fits of laughter.
Whilst possessing the same amount of immaturity, he is 20 years older, married and settled with kids.
And at one particular point, I talk about going “home”… about how Proserpine is and always will be my “home”.
Normally our brains worked in perfect sync together (like Leonard’s mum + Sheldon), but at this moment, it didn’t.
“You know Leonie, Proserpine isn’t your home. It’s just where you grew up.”
“Oh A, you don’t understand. It IS my home.”
“It’s not. Home is the place where you make your family. It’s the place you live and make your life. Everyone grows up and moves away and goes on to make their own families and their own new home. You’ve been away from Proserpine long enough. You have Chris. You have your house here, and the life you’ve made. This is your home.”
And I argued with him. Over and over again, about how Proserpine was and would always be my home. How he didn’t understand.
And he argued back, just as insistently, that home was where you lived, that it was the place you made your own family.
And yet I see now, he did.
He really did understand.
He saw that I wasn’t really, truly growing up. Wasn’t free to find my true home when my compass needle was so stuck. Wasn’t ready to change.
Until the moment I was.
Everyday, at 4:30 pm I can hear the old scenic train winding its way up into the mountain mists miles away from us through spectacular scenery… a reminder that in that very moment, there are hundreds of people gasping with delight at the beauty of this world… I love the reminder so much. I think it’s the same reason my husband loves airports. “There’s always people going on the biggest adventures of their lives, or they are going to see people they love so much… I feel like I’m a part of it when I am there…”
This world. Pretty much the best thing ever.
Each day we live here, I feel tendrils of peace and relaxation unravel within me.
I don’t know what it was before.
What made my shoulders set hard. What made things not feel right before.
I’m guessing it had to do with the weight of family expectations, the weariness of waiting for the next shitty thing to happen.
It just didn’t fit. It didn’t feel good.
And here… here in the rainforest, bathing in the sunlight, in our own little sanctuary away from everything…
we are free to be how we are.
It feels like our old sweet life in Canberra, but even more radiant now. Even more alive. In Canberra we weren’t living in the sweet tropics. We weren’t living in our dream house. We weren’t staying at home together thanks to my beautiful business. We didn’t have the kind of freedom we have now. And yet, there our life was governed by our own groove, our own life pattern.
And we had to come all this way to find it again. The space for our own groove.
And now we are here, and now we have it…
Goshdarn that feels lovely.
A gentle, soft pace of life. Just as we adore it
Every soul and every family should have the choice as to the life that fits them best.
I don’t know what it is,
but I feel more connected here to my sweet little family
and my sweet little self.
Yesterday I said to my love:
People are different here. They are open and smiling. They look happy. They look like they don’t have a care in the world.
It is infectious and it is beautiful to be around.
We used to live on a loud street.
All I can hear is the waterfall behind us. The river at the end of our road.
(That is where these photos were taken.)
I’m so glad I leapt.
I’m so glad I turn to stare all my shit in the eye: my patterns, my stuff that needed healing.
I’m so glad I grew up, finally and at last, to being a true adult.
Even though it was painful. Even though it was challenging.
Even thought it felt like being in a chrysalis.
This part is worth it.
The part where the butterfly emerges,
and dries off her silken wings
so she may fly.
I just wanted to write you a love song to you, dearest.
If you are still in the dark night of the soul.
Still in the depths of the chrysalis.
how on earth will it ever get any better.
I want to give you hope.
I want to give you knowing.
I want to give you faith.
That one day soon,
the tides will turn
the chrysalis will crack open
you will be reborn
and you will be aglow, alight,
in the way you were always meant to be.
Your life will fit you again. It will make sense.
Good and beautiful things are coming.
I promise you,
of the rainforest