The time alone took some adjusting to, I had been around people for the duration of Tasmania and this ejection from social contact bought on a little anxiety, a little uncertainty. There is a comfort that comes with human contact, a supporting shoulder, a creative outlet, humour, love, touch, belonging, security perhaps the biggest one that brings inner turmoil when removed. I went looking for a forest to hide in and found one on my way east, nothing special but I felt the tension leave as the van and I nestled together amongst the tall pillars and silent growth.
To Freycinet National Park I ventured, and a long walk around the eastern peninsula, all solo bar the odd encounter with other walkers. I took break of my journey on Hazards beach, a very long stretch of golden sand and crystal water, my clothes fell and I dived under the gentle waves relishing the cool ocean after vigorous exercise. I dried and clothed before the coloured specks I could see far along the beach became visible bodies of tourists headed my way.
Onward to explore the rust coloured boulder shoreline, my company a group of sea birds, their call laden with apprehension as they announced my proximity. I sat on the stone shelves and looked into a green coloured bay dreaming up a giant sea creature as it emerged to grant me wishes. Instead of experiencing this event I finished my apple and clambered through the bush onto the path for the rest of the walk.
Not a soul on this path except for these two legs tromping onward for hours, I was getting back in touch with the love of self that comes from my solitude. Mist of rain fresh on my skin, every so often I would turn my head left to glimpse the grey blue ocean and as the path came closer I found a cliff devoid of obscuring foliage to rest at. A distance away from the shore there were dark clouds and the vision of fog that comes from heavy rain, breaking through this fog were golden beams of sun light projected to the water as if searching the ocean floor. I stood and watched as the beams shaped and moved with the progress of the clouds as the rain slowly crept toward the shore.
I finally reached the car park, unsure how many hours but certain that most of the day had been spent. I drove northward and stopped for a shower in a small hostel before finding a modest spot off the main road for the night.
I wanted to find Jemma in these last few days, she said she was near the Bay of Fires which was my direction, but when I looked at the map I felt drawn to St Marys, which was North West instead. To this town I drove and found myself in another sleepy community displaying Tasmania’s beauty. I stopped in the local co-op to fill my coffers with seeds, nuts, honey and a decadence of chocolate. I sent a message to Jemma and drove westward to Evercreech National Park, always in discovery of beautiful forest.
This place was lush, I had come from a dry scrambling shoreline to thick wet forest in a distance of two hours, dense ferns grew from swampy earth and a walkway had been erected that guided me to giant white gums, their trunks the size of a generous water tank and their tips reaching and reaching to the sky. Below in the dark undergrowth vibrant green moss coloured fallen logs as they slowly became the soil they now rested on for scores of years.
I drove now to find service to see if Jemma had responded, I took the smooth forest access roads without sight of another car. Suddenly as around a dirt corner and from the middle of the road lifted a giant eagle, its span of wings easily beyond the van as they pushed dust into swirls lifting the noble bird to the tree tops. It perched and peered at the rumbling monster of brown and grey that was my vehicle and as this beast got closer – a jaw dropped human head hanging out the window – it took off again over the pointed tips of the pine forest.
Ah, phone service, and Jemma had replied, she was staying near St Marys – funny. I drove onward stopping only to fill some tubs with blackberries before climbing the winding mountain road to her tenancy. It was a joy to hang out with this woman whom I felt such admiration for but never had opportunity for lengthy dialogue, we spoke as the wood fire roared into the night and the two white cats purred in their soft fluffy beds.
I was off again toward Deloraine, I looked for a camp I could stay at for a few nights before getting on the ferry once more. I wanted to really settle in, well as much as four days would allow. I found Liffey Falls and stuck it at one of the more popular sites, it was the middle of the week so I had the place mostly to myself. I rested and read and explored the river bed, diving under the icy waters to clean and invigorate and explore the fertile bush surrounds.
A few nights later and I set to see Julian once more before going toward the ferry town of Devonport. I was grateful for the opportunity to spend more time with this being and to solidify a friendship, we shared soup in the short visit and not too long after I saw him waving in my rear vision mirror as I drove down the quiet Deloraine street.
I felt it fitting to spend the last night at the same camp as my first companions and I landed almost four months ago, only fifteen minutes from the ferry this location was also dressed in convenience. The sun went down slowly, pouring colour over a good third of the horizon, a group of women, all dressed in white set up for a fire ceremony on the beach, as the daylight hues faded from sight, sacred flames tickled upward casting long shadows of devoted beings outward like a dark star upon the sand.
Movement, the bustle of traffic and a long wait at the terminal, I left the faithful steed to enter the passenger lounge of the Spirit of Tasmania. A captive audience was I, all alone on the ferry, I read books and wrote these journal entries till the bow nosed into its cradle in the mainland of Australia.