Coming home

20 August 2007

This is H (on the left) on the Mackay railway station where we stopped for 30 minutes on the way through.

The view from my window at Bowen, where I was thinking of Deborah and enjoying the wonderful variety of mangoes, tomatoes and small crops.

It was good to get out, really. I loved the train which mostly whooshed us past backyards and little towns, but also left us in the night sitting like ducks in a line ready to be picked off by any unseen fool with a grudge and a rifle. We slept fairly well on the train when you consider we were locked in a compartment with 38 other people we didn't know and the only thing we had in common was that we all bought a ticket to ride. My feet were swollen from sitting too long on the trip back. HAHA! I sound like a demented paranoid who thinks only the worst possible thing will happen. We did enjoy ourselves.

We had a lovely time with Kathleen. I loved seeing her really happy and proudly showing us her home. I loved that although K's home is new and modern, it's slap bang in the middle of a really old suburb and her next door neighbours have lived there for over 50 years. The old man neighbour sits for long periods stripping copper wire to sell, and we could hear the trains rolling by just like you can here. There are old trees there and a brilliant 50 year old Bowen mango tree in full blossom right in K's backyard. Even in all that newness, Kathleen's home sits comfortably alongside the old homes in an old suburb.

We went out a couple of times to eat, so we saw people who answer their mobile phones and use credit cards, unlike me. There were lots of tourists wandering around in the warm tropical weather with bare arms and wispy dresses and when we sat at the restaurant pictured in my previous post, we loved seeing a fat smiling baby draped in a bright red pashmina that flew out in the breeze like a happiness beacon. That baby will be remembered for a long time, not only for her jolly smile and silly giggle but also for the brightness of her shawl that seemed so unusual, yet perfect.

I had morning tea with a really special friend - Susan. Susan and I used to be neighbours in a tiny isolated town; she also used to work for me when I was editing our town paper. Over the years, and over too many glasses of wine and cups of good coffee, we've mined the depths of a profound friendship and discovered by doing that just what is was we really wanted from our own lives. Friends are the best sounding boards. About 15 years ago, Susan was the first person I discussed simple living with, and although neither of us knew it by that name then, I know those feeble first sentences ended with me being where I am now. We both talked about that too, about me saying way back then, how you could change the way you felt about taking a shower. That, my friends, was my first simple living discussion - ever. So I was very happy to see her and to know that although we live a vast distance apart, our friendship remains strong and significant. It was a pleasure to sit with her once again, overlooking her rainforest garden, drinking tea and having a truly meaningful conversation.

So now we are home and I feel right again. When I'm out there with all of you I feel a bit out of place and strange. Coming home feels right and I'm where I should be. I've cuddled the dogs, I've eaten a dozen snow peas straight from the bush and fed the chooks. I looked at the washing, but didn't do any, I've wandered around the garden and had a little sleep - IN MY OWN BED. Boy, does that feel good. I doubt you have to go away to appreciate what you have but it always accentuates the importance of my home to me. Going away was a wonderful thing and we enjoyed our friends and the travelling, but coming back home is the real joy. And to have all of you waiting for us, and all those emails, well, I am one lucky woman.