I am sitting in our little study, wallpapered with cartoon bugs for the little girl who used to live here, listening to a thunderstorm rolling around Melbourne and a classical music playlist. Last night about 9pm we had 3 or 4 storms over the city, nature’s own fireworks on a blue moon night. I sat on the landing, looking out one of the windows as the clouds lit up like lanterns on the inside, the rain hammered down and the wind blew fat drops in onto my arms and cheeks. To think I used to be scared of storms, but let me quantify that. I sleep so deeply, if you wake me up suddenly, I am likely to scream at you, ergo if the first thing I hear is a massive thunderclap, I used to freak out and it would take me hours to calm back down again. No exaggeration, I used to climb into bed with my parents well into my teens, scared silly.
I don’t remember when I learned to love storms, I don’t remember when I learned to love a lot of things I used to hate or fear, I do know that as soon as you release your fear and just let it go, watching it float away, life is so much better. The tight knot in the pit of your stomach releases and takes the acidic taste from your mouth with it, the wrinkles and frown disappear from your brow and you wonder why you spent so much energy and effort worrying about it. Having said that, moths are still up there, still fluttering around scaring the be-jeepers out of me; the exact same instant they stop dive bombing me I’ll stop running round the house shrieking, have you seen the size of some of the moths in Australia?? And I am better than I used to be, at least I can sleep in the same room as one of them now, some of the time, depending it isn’t too huge, like the size of a fingernail, ahem.
Dan and I have had a great day today. We were going to get up early, pack up a picnic, and head off to Mt Buller. We still did that, but after the hot and sticky night, woke up later than planned, leaving around 10am instead of 7am. We drove through the Black Saturday bush fire region, stunned into silence at how vast the area was; tree after tree after tree burnt through, some are emerging through the blackness, gum trees bark peels off, (it was used as paper), and now the bark is peeling away to reveal healthy wood again, nature’s own protection. Other trees got so hot, they exploded, leaving odd shapes skeletons behind. Ferns are thriving, shooting up tall from the ashes. Mother Nature finding her way to restore equilibrium.
We arrived at Mt Buller after stopping off briefly a couple of times on the 3 hour journey from home. I have never driven up a road like it to the top; I knew I was making Dan nervous, but there were no barriers, just a yellow line and sheer drop down the mountain on my side of the car. I hung on tight, tried to concentrate on my breathing and told DG I loved him, just in case. I used Byron Katie’s The Work ‘Is it true?’ as I pictured the car head first at the bottom of the gorge, reminding myself that we weren’t head first at the bottom of the gorge, we were quite safe driving up it. It helped somewhat, but by the time we arrived at the top my back was still a fetching wet patch of cold sweat. (See I keep telling you, I am a work in progress!) Coming down was easier as I was travelling by the side of the road, although Dan pointed out that now I would be the first one hit by a rock, I gave him a Paddington Bear hard stare for that one.
The top of the mountain was surrounded by a cloud bank, which blew itself away for all of 5 minutes while we were having coffee, the rest of the time our view was of cotton wool. There were several glum looking families who were evidently on holiday at the resort, and were stuck not able to do anything in the bad weather. It is primarily a ski resort, but in the summer you can go on walks and mountain biking trails. I am not a great lover of skiing, I love watching winter sports on TV and am looking forward to the Winter Olympics. The company I worked for in London organised a ski trip when I worked there, one girl wanted to know why I wasn’t coming; when I told her I didn’t ski, she said that I should just come along and sit in the pub. Like I would use any leave, and spend £££s on a flight to sit in a pub, when there were several I could walk to in the UK. No.
Back down towards sea-level we had a picnic beside a river, sheer bliss as there were hardly any cars driving past, so the noisiest thing was the water burbling along and bouncing off rocks. We then looped back round and drove back through Mansfield and onto Melbourne. We’ve been busy putting Harry Potter into iTunes, so listened to a fair chunk of the only one I’ve got on the iPod since the last sync, Goblet of Fire. Quite happily driving along, listening to Stephen Fry, we didn’t need to talk to each other, but when we did talk, did we make some big decisions. We now need to research and plan what action we need to take to get us to where we need and want to go. 2010 is already shaping up to be an industrious year.
As an aside, cutting the cheese this morning for the picnic, I had to hand the block and knife to Dan, I didn’t have any oomph in my arm from yoga to cut it. Whoever thought that it was easy, was wrong. Way wrong. You should see the state of me when I get out the class, I take a 22oz water bottle in with me, that lasts me the 90 minutes, but when I get out I drink 2 full ones back to back, then drive off with it refilled again. I stop sweating and return to a normal colour about 2 hours afterwards. It could be interesting next week when I go to the 6am class and have to start work at 9am.