So long, summer. You were easily one of the best and I’m going to miss you so.
Oh and this tune came outta nowhere* and stormed home to claim the coveted ‘Song of the Summer’ title.
*’nowhere’ being the Ky-man’s car speakers. Thanks, K!
Friday February 8th
Sitting by our fire in the middle of nowhere, just Kayleigh and me. We ate a vegie curry and sipped red wine out of mugs. Before dinner we went for a dip in the creek. I waded in gingerly, getting used to the squishy mud beneath my toes, before striking out and letting the cool water envelope me. The trek in was a bit of a struggle with our hiking packs full to the brim and my awkward basket full of fruit, vegies, bread, chocolate, nuts and that bottle of red that kept rolling out. I wore my RMs but the leather sole was slippery and I had to tread carefully down the steep, rocky hills so as not to topple over. But now we’re here, lying on our backs by the fire: tummies full, bodies resting, minds letting go. It’s so quiet and the night sky so vast. My thoughts just wandered to a dark place and imagined all that could go wrong and the harm that could befall us. We’re safe because we’re hidden in the middle of nowhere yet we’re at risk because we’re hidden in the middle of nowhere.
Saturday February 9th
We slept in our little tent for ten hours. TEN HOURS. I cannot even remember the last time that happened. Back in the city I struggle to switch off my mind for more than seven. There’s always something I should get up and do; an email to reply to, an appointment to keep, a run to go on. But here, nothing.
So we woke up slowly and crawled out of the tent. Kayleigh set to work boiling water and preparing our bircher muesli, I sliced a pomegranate and popped all of its juicy red seeds. We munched our muesli and sipped our peppermint tea and thought about the day ahead. Two men in a tinny dropped in and told us about a waterfall about a kilometre upstream. That captured out imaginations and so we set off wearing only our swimmers and sandals. We waded and bush bashed and forged a path where there was no path. My fear of snakes threatened to stop me in my tracks but I shook my head, ‘NO!’ as if physically banishing the thought. After about 20 minutes we came to a section of bush so dense, full of thickets and tangled trees, that we decided to turn around and try our luck in the other direction. The blokes in the tinny also mentioned a beach about five kays downstream so the thought of a secluded section of seaside spurred us on (and on). We talked as we walked and stopped to fall into the creek whenever the heat got too much. Kayleigh and I lived in the same town when we were kids but lost touch when I moved away and went to uni so there was lots to catch up on. We spoke of many things; our time spent growing up in Grafton, Kayleigh’s travels to South America and Africa, our jobs, the single life, confusing boys and The Future. There were stretches of silence, too. We took in our surrounds, sucked in the thick air and let the feeling of being alone together settle in our souls.
Now back at the campsite we’ll spend the afternoon reclining, reading, writing and staring at the sky. I can’t quite believe the clarity of my thoughts and how at peace I feel.
Once again we’re sprawled out on the grass, looking up into the night, our fire crackling away and counteracting the slight chill in the air. I’m alternating between my book and you, dear journal. We dined on corn roasted in the coals and had toasted marshmallows for dessert. Happy hour started early so we’re out of red wine. While we waited for our dinner to cook we chucked a tennis ball back and forth. Who knew such a simple act could be so satisfying? Just on dusk I had a solo swim in the creek. I floated on my back and gazed up at the trees feeling so whole and nourished. I longed for that moment to last and for the anxiety and uncertainty and sadness that often floods my mind to drift away for good. I felt like my real self; like I could hold my essence in my hands. Tomorrow we’ll hike out of here and back to our lives in the city. We keep joking that while we’ve been here, in the bowels of the bush, Sydney will have been invaded, Tomorrow When The War Began style. I kinda wish that was true; I’m not ready to leave this place.
These are the sounds of my summer. Damn, it’s been an absolute cracker. Oh and see track number 5, the Gayngs tune? Somehow I managed to play that 200 times over four days. WUT? I know. But I can’t really explain it…apart from one J. Vernon, of course. It has well and truly been my summer jam. Enjoy the mix here!
1. losing you – solange
2. manhattan – cat power
3. taro – alt j
4. the rip tide – beirut
5. spanish platinum – gayngs
6. retrograde – james blake
7. valentine – jessie ware + sampha
8. clair de lune – flight facilities
9. waste of wine – light giant
10. justice delivers its death – sufjan stevens
Pic: my brother Andre eating ice cream in Newtown.
I just finished “How Should A Person Be?’ by Sheila Heti. Here are some (out of context) quotes from the book that I like:
‘I believed it to be gold and held it near.’
‘I don’t care about success. I have it in my heart now.’
‘In the daytime, austerity. In the nighttime, oblivion.’
‘I wanted a day without morning or evening. I wanted a day of rest.’
I’m a collector of words and phrases that appear beautiful to me and/or conjure up some grand vision. If ever I feel like escaping for a wee while, I slowly read over my collection. It always does the trick.
Long distance relationships aren’t for me. I’ve had a few and they weren’t much fun. Far too much pining and wishing and missing and a hunger that’s never satiated. Which is why I was none too happy to meet Mrs Elizabeth White a few months back. She lives over yonder in Parkes, you see. And we totally click and finish each other sentences and read the same blogs and take photos and nod in agreement on so, so many things. Not cool. Not when she’s a five hour drive away.
But you know what? This one’s different; she’s worth it. Here’s to friendship, ESW!
One day I found myself down an internet rabbit hole and stumbled upon the design portfolio of miss Jasmine Holm. I poured over the visual treats on offer and lingered when looking at ‘On The Road’. It was a photo book created by Jasmine that told the story of a family adventure around the US of A. A lover of film photography, she documented the trip using numerous old cameras; each with its own quirks and charms. After looking at the digital images over and over, I decided I simply had to get in touch with Jasmine and acquire a physical copy of my own. I sent an email explaining that I greatly appreciated the effort she had gone to in developing her photographs and arranging them on the pages of a book so as to tell a compelling visual story. These days it’s so easy to just take a bunch of photos and leave them as digital files, sitting somewhere inside your Mac. I reckon so much value is added to a photograph when it’s printed or placed in an album. In her sweet reply she explained that the book had been made for a uni assignment but that she would be happy to print another copy for me. I popped some money in her bank account and a few weeks later this little gem arrived in the post.
A few weeks back I took a trip down to Melbourne to shoot Sugar Mountain Festival. The festival was weird and wonderful but the time either side of it was just plain wonderful. I lived in this city for about a year and have so many fond, vivid memories. Melbourne, remind me again, why did I leave you?