Flowering in OZ

Gum Tree Flowers
I believe in flowers. Perhaps more than anything else, I trust flowers to exist exactly as they should exist. I believe in color, and the sun, and the way the moon waxes and wanes and the patience involved in it all. Nothing beautiful happens instantaneously. Walking through the tropical rainforest of Queensland, Australia is a reminder of this. The ground is primarily made of clay as if it is trying to say “We have enough water here, we can’t handle any more.” While the trees grow to staggering heights, nearly touching the stars, the roots are the most impressive part of the puzzle to me. The earth is deprived of oxygen in these soils, yet every plant finds a way to exist and grow and compete for that last inch of sunlight slipping through the canopies. 

A week in the rainforest of Northern Australia could never be enough to uncover all of the mysteries mixed into the GREEN that perpetrates everything in sight. Leaves the size of my entire torso shoot up and drop down like umbrellas with ridged leaves to help maximize sunlight and minimize the chance of being weighed down by water. Years of change, of life and decay, of growing and falling and growing and growing. The strangling figs, slipping up the sides of ancient trees while twisting and turning and growing until they completely take over the other tree, enveloping it and consuming it until the tree dies, and all that is left is a labyrinth of the Fig tree that won.

A Strangling Fig Stands Where a Tree Used to…

All of this life and growth and abundant nature fills me up in a way I haven’t experienced for years back in the dry homeland of California. The entire four years I spent in the redwood RAINforest only consisted of 3-5 major rainstorms, and while the beautiful sunny weather is hard to complain about, the lack of rain had started to psychologically stunt me. I ached for water the way the earth did, and I didn’t fully realize this until I was standing under the canopy of the Daintree Rainforest listening to the rain pour down from the sky, yet I was barely touched by the drops. The trees literally drank the water, and every plant that grows through the levels of the canopy reaches out for their own sip. The forest is alive with sounds and smells and an energy so vibrant that it is impossible not to feel awe amidst it.

To be fair, it is never right to compare something. Though, I guess I didn’t really know how much I missed rain until I saw it every day in violent storms that would last for about 5 minutes and pass. The climate of Cairns was strangely nostalgic of long days sitting on my grandmothers back porch in Florida. The hot, heavy hair clings to your body and clothes and you cannot escape it. Yet, everyone embraces and accepts it. It is like a never ending hug from the sky. The trip was the apex of my vacation expenditures in Australia. I figure getting the holiday part of my work holiday visa out of the way is a safe way to buckle down and experience the community of Wollongong. 

I have already landed 5 separate jobs, and have had to decline 3 of them as a Barista. It seems the tides are in my favor, and the gratitude I have for the people back home who have trained me and believed in me in the hospitality industry is immense. Though I don’t want to be a barista forever, I enjoy interacting with the community in this way. The two shops I have accepted remind me of home in the way the staff takes care of each other, and puts quality over quantity. Not to mention both shops being decorated with plants and wood. 

Though I would love to continue writing… The next subject breaches into the GReat Barrier reef which I will have to save for another time. Thank you for sharing my journey with me…

Yours,

Hannah

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Believing

 

Desert Primrose

 

She sat in the sand to say hello to the flowers. She didn’t expect to see them there amidst such extreme heat and mobile sand. The dunes sang, she could believe that, but for some reason the delicate flowers bursting in humble shades of white and yellow seemed alien to her. She smiled at their bravery and lay back in the warm sand to feel it all. She was happy without him. She was ready to move forward. She was willing to believe in love again. “If the flowers can wait for the rainstorm, so can I,” she said to the sky. Love was a part of her always. It rode on her shoulders where the backpack dug in a little to deeply, and in her shaking hips that moved with the moons, and in the way she held strangers’ eyes for just a moment long enough to show them she cared. Love for her was the desert.

Even though it hurt sometimes, fluctuating between too hot and too cold and none at all, she believed in it. When others would try to warn her that nothing was there, she held onto the hopes knowing a Desert Primrose, or a Diatura was just behind the next Creosote Bush. The sand in her toes reminded her of the sand she would become someday. And all of it was terrifyingly expansive, all of the nothingness was a bunch of small somethingness that transformed daily. Love thrives at night when the truth of itself can dance among the moon, and the light is just light enough to mean something. She believed in it all because she believed in the desert.

Her love was a desert. It held onto itself against all reason. What grew there, grew strong enough to handle the full force of the wind of her emotion, while providing other life shade. She had spikes that protected the places where she grew soft and succulent, and it was rare that she would let people see the delicate parts of her. Lovers had to search for those places. The places where the blossoms sprouted up immediately after a storm, and the timing had to be such that the lover could not be too early or late. Timing. Time. To time. To wait. To be in time. Time moves slower in the desert. As if the places just far enough from the equator and just far enough away from the mountains revolved at a different speed. As if her heart actually sped up and slowed down as love came and went. She believed in it without reason.

She believed in it knowing she would always be thirsty. She believed in it knowing she would have to wait for the storms and wait for the water and wait and wait. She believed in it because the blooms were more spectacular and curious than anything she had ever known. Her love, a desert, was waiting, knowing the secrets that it kept.

Becoming.

 

Waves and Wanderings: Big Sur, CA

She found herself, alone again, by the ocean. The waves lapped at her feet, trying to pull her in and keep her out simultaneously. Her toes sent shivers up her spine, and she shook them out and she shook them out again as she reached up to the sun and ran into the water. She didn’t care that air slipped out of her. She didn’t care that for a moment, no one could see or hear her. She didn’t care about anything other than that moment of relief from everything else. As she emerged from the depths and blinked the salt from her eyes, she found a smile on her face. The surprise of the smile made her laugh; it had been a while.

Then the memories flooded back from their escape. She felt the weight of goodbye and the reality of loss. Him. Her and Him. She felt them and held them and when she was ready she set them in the ocean to float away. She kissed the anger and sadness and confusion into her hands and put them in the water. “Goodbye,” she whispered to the wind. Then she turned and walked out of the water and did the only thing she could do.

That night the ocean danced out of her eyes, onto her guitar, onto her bed. She let everything that needed to come, come and go when it was ready. Time happened for the next few days like this, allowing space for him to go and her to come back. She had been through the motions before. Luckily. And she planned to again.

It was a gentle transformation of untangling the person she let in from herself. She found there were some strands that weren’t quite hers anymore, and so she pulled them gently out into the pile she planned to shed. Once she had sorted through the keeps and dont’s, she wove a garden bed and planted seeds for the summer. She felt movement inside herself. An ember that had caught flame and started to burn. It was hers, and she had forgotten that she was responsible for it’s light. Another smile crept across her face, rooted in the flame, she was coming home.

The next month she found herself on mountain-tops and small streams. Coming back into her body felt as though someone was carrying her and showing her to all of the places she had known, but was learning again. As time passed, she slipped back into her body, first in the strength of her legs, then out to her fingertips, then into her stomach and chest and heart, and finally her head. She fit perfectly into herself and wondered where she had been the whole time.

The novelty of being in her own skin again caused her to dance and stretch and feel everything for herself. She had been lost, blind-sighted by the magic of loving another, but found the feelings of the world were there for her too. She took a breath. And then another. Everything was alive. She was alive. It felt like magic.

The next breath, her deepest breath, filled her lungs with sweet coastal air and she stepped out of one story and into the next. She was home. She is woman.