I have always said to students that if they come to Australia for a visit, forget about the cities and the endless sprawl of suburbs. Come for the landscapes, the seascapes, the animals. And every time I am home and I experience the beauty and might of Australian nature, I feel vindicated in my view. Whether it is being swooped at by a magpie or laughed at by a kookaburra, walking among eucalyptus or marveling at the relentless power of the ocean, it all leaves me feeling exhilarated and very much alive.
This time around I have been lucky enough to visit the coast on a couple occasions. I went with my sister to Mooloolaba on the North Coast for two nights and the thing that I loved most was really how little it has changed since I was a child. Sure the shops have got a bit more ritzy and I prefer wine with my view instead of frozen coke but there is something reassuring about seeing a place remain in its core unchanged.
I perhaps have changed a bit. Especially when wild waves suddenly come thrashing across the rocks. My near drowning last year has given me a very healthy respect of the water which perhaps as a child I did not hold to the same degree.
It was good to be able to spend this time with my sister. Strolling paths we had walked twenty years before, pointing out places we had stayed with mum and dad. Part of me wanted to be able to peer through the window of the Tropicana Inn and see us all there as we were back then. Horribly burnt, choosing videos, playing Trivial Pursuit. It made my heart ache to see the Inn still standing there, unchanged but for a coat of paint, and yet all of us changed, older, so much further down the road of our lives. How grateful I felt that we were all still walking our roads even after all that time.
Ha ha... Aslan strikes again