Travelogue: Blues

Pretty soon the mist will come in through the windows: it’s been rolling up the hill all afternoon, obscuring my view of Airlie Beach. I’ve been in the Whitsundays for most of the week after leaving Cape Tribulation a day early. I enjoyed my time exploring the Daintree area, and it felt like something I needed to do given that’s where we were going to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary in April last year.

Thigh-deep in the cold, clear water of Wurrmbu Creek at Mossman Gorge.

But now it’s just me and I’m not in that part of Queensland anymore. And I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been watching too much of the series Alone (which, by the way, I recommend to fellow adventure lovers), but I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on this insight about solitude:

The value of solitude — one of its values — is, of course, that there is nothing to cushion against attacks from within, just as there is nothing to help balance at times of particular stress or depression. A few moments of desultory conversation … may calm an inner storm. But the storm, painful as it is, might have had some truth in it. So sometimes one has simply to endure a period of depression for what it may hold of illumination if one can live through it, attentive to what it exposes or demands.

– May Sarton, American poet (1912–1995)
The artistic output of bubbler crabs at Myall Beach. To count all the little spheres on the beach would be some kind of fairytale curse… There are millions!

In my outer life, there’s not much to report. I’m working my way down the gorgeous east coast of this magnificent island, trying to be thankful for the rare opportunity I’ve got – even though lots of attitudes are easier to reach for than gratitude. In my inner life, I’m at the ready for what this time “may hold of illumination…” – but wait for it – “…if one can live through it.” Have you experienced that baffling incongruity between your outer and inner lives? My long-suffering mother has heard plenty about my experience of this dissonance in the past few weeks months…

This was my view as I drank coffee the day before yesterday:

The Whitsundays, Queensland.

Idyllic, isn’t it? And yet, I walked back to my accommodation with a heavy heart for reasons that have nothing to do with my location, but which I hoped the location might help remedy. The blues in my heart are so much darker than the ones in the picture, and, rather than cheering me up, the brightness of my surroundings cast my dim mood into sharper relief. And it’s been like that for a while. And it’s been like that for a while for so many of us, in different combinations of difficult ways, hasn’t it? And I’m ready for the illumination, aren’t you?

Gnarly fig at Mossman Gorge, in the southern part of the Daintree Rainforest.

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