Sometimes I sit at the keyboard of my laptop for a long time before anything comes out. This occasion I look back and wonder how I can possibly envelope this past month’s experiences in words – the truth is that I can never portray life in writing, but I can enjoy the attempt.
With my companions gone I drove down the main street of Cygnet alone, I stopped for a tea at the local café and spoke with a previous acquaintance for a while, she was on her way to Hobart and after a powerful conversation she left for the bustling metropolis. Sarah came around the corner, she mentioned the day previous that she wanted to stay around Cygnet for a while, we decided to hang out and explore the countryside together.
The 14th of January arrived and I was scheduled to collect Maria from Hobart Airport, Sarah would disembark and travel solo for a while so we said goodbyes at a service station before I turned the van back to the city. Victoria, whom I met in Canberra was also in town, we decided to spend the morning at the Museum of Old and New art and she would travel with Maria and I to the gathering. Later that day, Victoria and I stood at the airport arrival gate welcoming Maria with a sign, smiles and open arms. Next stop, Barbara’s place.
We drove the final 10 kilometres along the familiar winding river road, this time the deep orange sunset splashed against the grey green alpine foliage, the once dreary black of asphalt road livened with colour, rays of light punctured through spaces in the trees as we climbed the twisting thoroughfare to our evening destination.
An evening and most of the next day at Barbara’s place, in full care free relaxation, in sipping delicious water from the crystal alpine stream, in listening to old stories from a seven year reunion from Barbara and Maria, and finally in preparing the three hour journey north to the gathering.
We took on extra passengers, Mitch and Ruth whom I saw at Cygnet joined the trio to form a quintet on four wheels, the van loaded to the brim with bags, instruments and jovial, excited hippies. We took a quiet road north passing through countless environment changes, dry plains turned into forests, into green farmland, into lakes and mountains, sleepy towns and riverside communities – we saw it all and eventually also the entrance to the Rainbow Gathering.
Alike most journeys lately our entrance was punctuated by the deep colours of sunset, I decided to rest in the van that night but trekked down the hill with my companions to reunite with beloved friends.
Oh the joy of once again meeting those kindling such love inside me, we had walked down at the perfect moment, our brothers and sisters holding hands around the food singing beautiful songs. I joined in and delighted to see the faces of not only my original travelling friends but those who I had met at previous gatherings or around the country. The singing ceased and the hugs commenced, I was overwhelmed with glee and grin spread from ear to ear.
The night at the van was just as needed, the top paddock car park was completely silent, I took the time of inaudible solitude gratefully in meditation and rest. The morning onward I would live in a tent.
The challenge to pack as much as possible to be comfortable but also as little as possible to make it down and up the hill without too much struggle made for a careful selection. My pack, laden with sleeping bag, tent, mattress, clothes, hammock, tarp and requisite blocks of chocolate ventured down the steep decline atop shoulder, making me look more pack horse than man. At the bottom Daniel showed me to the camp that my companions had chosen, we walked a few hundred metres through aptly named Fern Gully to the river, where the land owners had cemented car tyres forming the water crossing which I would become very familiar. Up the other bank along a small path then without warning a sharp right into dense bush, ducking and turning, brushing past large bracken fern and bristly berry bushes to arrive at three small tents hidden from view and earshot – The Sanctuary – I found my place and set up a tent.
There seems to be a theme with Rainbow Gatherings where one arrives and spends the next few days in ‘jet lag’, the ego and mind battle with the freedom and psychic presence of a few hundred awakening beings. These days for me started with physical tiredness, I held desire to go out and socialise but all I could do was hide in The Sanctuary and sleep, a day later I would poke my head out like a timid animal seeing a hand offering food, there were emotional ups and downs, fear, uncertainty, judgement of self and other, testing of the water, practice and eventually an amazing ‘letting go’ where the real Me began to surface and shine.
I now never underestimate the healing power of being myself, this loving medium of people, completely accepting of any way I am or any thing I do. By being what I am without shame or worry produces an incredible transformation, however this change requires pretense to drop, judgement to fade and self identification to fly out the window and as such comes with a struggle not unlike the jet lag symptoms in the first few days. I learn to understand that if I am feeling emotional, physically tired or lost in thought I can take solace that another layer of the protective shell I had once enveloped myself in was peeling off, another piece of conditioning was shattering and the mind was hopelessly struggling to hold on – I must let go, I must let fall the attempt of security or comfort – like old bricks in a wall blocking a beautiful view.
I would stay as long as possible, three weeks, perhaps more.