You know when you experience loss, loss of something important to you in life, you feel all sorts of things. I was on a coach to Brisbane when I was 14 years old, clutching my beloved cat Koochy in a cardboard box with holes, hoping no one would notice that I had a cat on my lap, particularly not the coach driver! Koochy was only a few years old and I wasn’t going anywhere without him. He was a gift from family friends a few doors up and around the corner from our place. When I say a few doors up, it took about 20 minutes to walk to their house from my house. Farms were dotted all over the landscape of Mullumbimby Creek, a green valley enveloped by steeply rising cliffs that yielded loud and powerful waterfalls from their various steep faces in times of rain. I can still hear them now as they cascaded down the valley tumbling their water towards us. Vasi and Marlene, my friends up the road, said I could have the kitten. So I carried him home.
There we were on the big blue coach, we each had a large rectangular suitcase filled with our clothes and anything precious that could fit in the suitcase. Father was transporting larger items to Brisbane in the ute. I sat on that coach all the way to Brisbane from Mullumbimby… and didn’t want to be going to Brisbane. I felt instant loss as I sat on that coach. It wasn’t until I was sitting down with Koochy on my lap that the realty struck me “no more creeks, no more granite boulders to explore, no more cuddling my pet cow Caramel, no more catching the school bus to school, no more seeing people I know, no more going to the school I love, no more going to Byron Bay, no more ….”. All my connections to what I had known for so many years were suddenly severed like a pair of scissors cutting through a long golden gossamer strand of happiness and comfort. And I cried… quietly with Koochy on my lap.
Somehow, I fell asleep. Well, it’s a long coach ride and back in those days, there were no super highways of 100km/hr or the M1 as we call it in Brisbane. My eyelids grew heavy and I fell asleep. I was sitting next to my brother and I think he was already asleep. And I dreamed and I dreamed. There I was… sitting on the swing overlooking the blue Brunswick River as it glistened in the sun with every little rise and fall of the water surface… it was mesmerising. You know how water just seems to sit in a river gently and the Brunswick River back then was sparkling blue. The water was so crystal clear and the wide beach was sparkling white. Families were swimming in the natural pool of water close to the stairs where the water just invited you in. “Come in…” it would say.