ain't that daintree

Saturday, 27 June

Life becomes complex as you merge into the wet tropical regions of the earth. Ecosystems become more elaborate within the soup of year-round heat and humidity. The fauna becomes even more plentiful. The fish, the birds, the butterflies become even more fantastically exotic and delightful to the human eye.

I saw some lovely tropical fish off Green Island yesterday. There was this blue/purple fish that was just amazing, miraculous in its supernal sheen of striking blue. There were fish with stripes of colour combinations, some even resembling tigers. The beauty of these fish exuded a great innocence. I realised yet again in viewing these fishies that the earth is abundant with life and all of this life is true, is sacred, and that human endeavours are of no greater value, instead they have merely ruined the earth.

Today I stepped out onto the Daintree Forest in tropical Far North Queensland. I say I stepped “onto” it because I didn’t really touch it, I floated above in on a steel air walk and then climbed a up a canopy. The Daintree is the oldest forest on the planet. It and the fauna and ecosystem on it have existed for 150-200 million years, an unfathomable amount of time. The Amazon is a relative child, she is about seven to nine million years old. The sense of sacredness when wondering through this marvellous forest was palpable. You felt the heat, the beauty, the age and the wisdom of the place, which too was undoubtedly sensed by the local indigenous peoples such as the Kuku Yalangi who lived in and with these forests for thousands of years.

We didn’t spot any Cassowaries today. These are birds that are the size of geese, perhaps larger, feature a striking blue neck and an obvious crown, or hood. Numbers of Cassowaries in the rainforest appear to be slowly dwindling given that much of the rainforest has been cleared by white man to make way for sugar cane over the past hundred years or so. We did see crocodiles on the Daintree River, four in total including one baby. One croc actually moved, slivered to its side and back into the water; the riverboat glider told us it was probably getting too warm in the sun and needed to cool down. It’s midwinter here in Far North Qld and at the moment it’s warmer and sunnier than Sydney at the height of summer.

I had great moments of happinesses yesterday, those moments that place you in the present and throw a big grin on you without even realise it, those moments where your body smiles. One of these moments was landing on Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef and walking down the jetty. Walking into island off the jetty and to the left of the ‘welcome’ sign I was instantly struck with delight by this leafy village appearing before me. It reminded me instantly of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Morning Morgantown’. It was villagey and leafy and took me back to a sixties Californian hippie town. All things considered it was still touristy, but it was just so fresh and freeing to be there on such a beautiful day with fresh green leaves and shops built like huts amongst the trees on this island village.

Being on a small island is a freeing experience in itself. I went swimming at the beach a few times. We were given snorkels to use to observe coral and fish but I found my goggles to be just as useful. The water was still and fresh, not cold but not too warm either so it was just perfect for a hot day. And even with all these beaches I still ventured into the village swimming pool a couple of times – it was chlorinated, and cooler – but it was the surrounds too that made me happy. I burst into a wide grin as I was swimming away there at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I had the key to life, this is the life! I felt so lucky and so fortunate to be there at that moment, and nowhere else, even if it was only to be for a short time only, regrettably. There I was, breaststroking in a chlorinated pool on an island paradise, and having one of the happiest feelings of my life.

I bought a cocktail prior to leaving the island. I rarely, if never, drink cocktails but this experience and place warranted it. Green Island was magnificent. If life consisted of paradise beaches and jumping in and out of resort pools then that would do it for me!
I feel almost a bit cheeky leaving my life in Sydney behind, even if it is for a short while, to help myself to a break 3000km away from home. I will have to be back at work in a fortnight and I’m flying home in a few days, on the 1st of July. Away from Sydney, away from home, I can be clear, open, free to do as I please without obligations and responsibilities at home. I’ve been on two tours on two consecutive days and have not spoken to many people. I notice I’m one of the very few people travelling alone, in fact I’ve only noticed one other person on their own yesterday. Today in the tour bus I sat next to the driver because I was on my own. I may be alone, but I’m not lonely, far from it. I’m just playing it by the moment and enjoying what’s in front of me.
Tomorrow I may hit Rustys Markets in downtown Cairns and go for a walk in the Botanical Gardens, and take nearby rainforest walks. There’s an open mic in the city tomorrow night and I’m likely to attend. I hope someone lends me a guitar.

But more importantly I hope that some of the zing of the this tropical place and the beaches and the rainforests lands me like a stone so that I can return home with a bit more poise and focus in my life, and act accordingly with it.

As it’s said, so without, is within.


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