After I had published yesterday's post, my phone rang and it was another friend, Julie. Now Julie runs our Meditation Group which we have every Monday morning. So the phone call last night was to confirm that I would be there the next morning, that I could arrive half-an-hour earlier and bring something to put towards lunch. Then, the reason for all this. We were going to the Darlington National Park to have our meditation outdoors followed by a barbecue lunch. Oh, I wasn't missing out on that! No way...
This morning I was up at 5 am, Jane and I went for our walk at 5.30 arriving home at 6 am. I logged onto my work site, did a couple of hours transcribing then had breakfast, jumped in the shower, dressed and was out the door at 8.45. As I was delegated to bring the drinks, I stopped at the supermarket and bought a couple of 2 litre bottles of pure Australian fruit juice (orange and pineapple, yum). By the time I arrived at Julie's it was almost 9.30 so we transferred all the goodies, chairs, eskies and what have you to two cars and set off to Darlington.
It's about an hour's drive and it was lovely being a passenger - I could look around and see what was going on. We passed acres of barley almost ready for harvesting, patchwork paddocks of green and brown where lucerne was growing and ground had been ploughed up ready for the next crop. We drove through areas that had been burning yesterday, probably due to a cigarette butt tossed out a car window. At one stage, the fire had come within a few metres of a house. Scary stuff.
We crossed bridges over creeks and streams that had all but dried up due to the drought, passed farmers on their quad bikes and watched the cattle chewing their cuds and watching us go by. We passed roadworkers who gave us a lazy wave; we then turned onto a sealed road that was so narrow that, if a vehicle was coming from the opposite direction, both had to move to the left onto the grass to pass by safely. Shortly after, we arrived at our destination. Quiet, apart from the sound of the river gurgling over the rocks and myriads of birds of all kinds. It was magic!
We meditated under an ancient gum tree that was older than the white civilisation of Australia; we let ourselves drift off to the sound of the bird life and the soft murmur of the river; we relaxed into the day.
Lunch was chicken kebabs, sausages, green salad, potato and egg salad, fresh rolls and tea, coffee or juice. Actually, we had a laugh during lunch. Helen, who is from the UK and has only been Australia for three months, was standing by the table, holding a kebab of which she had taken one bite, chatting to us about something. I had just sat down, when a large missile shot over my head, grabbed the meat off Helen's kebab skewer and devoured it. It was a very opportunistic kookaburra. They are meat eaters and will have no hesitation in grabbing food off you! We couldn't help laughing at the look on Helen's face. She was able to get another kebab and made very sure the kookaburra didn't get that one.
After a time of talking and laughing, we cleaned the barbecue, packed up our bits and pieces and drove back home. It was a wonderful day, the temperature was a perfect 28 degrees and we were good friends having a lovely meditation and lunch.
I've had the most wonderful three days and it has set me up well for work in the city tomorrow. Funnily enough, I feel that I have started on a new stage of my life over the last three days. If that's the case, it has certainly started with a bang and I'm looking forward to see what happens next.