Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Never cease to wonder

Bellingen is a delightful little town on the Bellinger river. At some stage in the distant past a clerk in an office got the spelling of the town or the river wrong and it has stuck – I am not sure which spelling is correct.

It is a town of contrasts. City slickers who have come to buy fancy houses and alternative life-stylers with beards and beads who munch on beans and soy milk.

The house we stayed in is a few kilometres out of town and is completely isolated so that one wakes up to the delightful sounds of the Australian bush. I had forgotten how wonderful this was and awoke to this splendour at dawn each day.

The reason we do this is so that Cate’s mother Joan – who is 91 years of age – can be with her two daughters – Cate and Liz. This is an annual ritual for Joan’s birthday.

Because of Joan’s age nothing happens very quickly - so we move through our days in slow motion.

We take Joan for drives and she enjoys these immensely. We do not actually need to do the drive as she falls asleep as soon as she gets into the car – and we could just put her in there and then go and get her out two hours later and ask her how she enjoyed the drive – and she would say  ‘that was lovely thanks darling’ and mean it. 

We take Joan to The Old Butter Factory for lunch and she munches inexorably through a BLT at roughly the same pace as the recovery of the US economy.

As dusk falls we take her home and prop her up in front of a roaring fire with a glass of champagne - with a blanket over her knees - while we rustle up dinner.

If Joan gets lucky there will be a football match on TV and she can watch two teams of thugs belting the daylights out of each other. She will do this in between mini-naps.

After dinner she will sit for hours as her family talks. Saying nothing – just happy to be with her children while they shoot the breeze in the middle of the Australian bush – and where – if you step outside the back door – you are standing in the middle of the milky way and can stare in awe at a billion stars and never cease to wonder at your own existence.  


  1. Those wonderful skies with so little light pollution. You wonder at a sky filled with stars.

  2. Just returned from a trip to the rocky mountains with my three boys. The first night the little one looked up and said, "Wow, there sure are a lot of airplanes going by up here." Umm, no buddy, those are stars. The wonder on his face at all of those billions of twinkling lights cannot be explained in words. After that we spent hours each night finding constellations and watching for shooting stars. Best vacation ever and we did almost nothing. :)

  3. I loved Bellingen - but Dorrigo blew me away more, for some reason...

  4. "munches inexorably through a BLT at roughly the same pace as the recovery of the US economy." I like the way you said it. Haha.

  5. Merricks: Always amazes me

    Cheers: I remember the first time my children saw the real night sky.

    freefalling: It certainly was.

    Matthew: Dorrigo is a very raw and special place - I like it a lot. Dorrigo could be in the Ozarks

    esbboston: Indeed.

    Idol lash: Thanks

  6. Who says that stars at night and real sky night is only for out kids, Until now I still love to watch them. But the perfect part of of it I watch it with my 3 little boys.

  7. Staring or looking at the sky can seem to be relaxing. And an airplane will pass ,,, simply means move on... it's ok. :)