As I write this from my van it’s raining outside. We’re camped on the edge of a lagoon near Gunbower Island in Victoria and the sky is grey. There’s no sunshine and who knows what the next 24 hours will bring. That’s the unpredictability of nature and, indeed, of life. The heat disappeared an hour ago and made way for persistent summer rain.
But I’m not complaining, far from it. It’s the second weekend in a row since lockdown ended we’ve been out and about in our Journey. How could anyone complain about this view?
When it comes to camping, and the weather, you get what you get. From one moment to the next, life is changeable, unpredictable and all we can do is roll with it.
It was the same last weekend when we travelled to South Gippsland, just for the night. 24 Hours in Port Albert, that’s the title of my latest travel article. I love the place and it’s amazing how much you can fit into 24 hours, without even trying.
Port Albert used to be one of the busiest ports in South Gippsland but these days it’s all about fishing and tourism so this quiet village welcomes travellers with open arms. We parked our rig right on the wharf area, in a designated free RV area, with prime water views.
I caught up with an old school friend who lives nearby and we enjoyed fish and chips from Castim on the Jetty, a fabulous new waterfront kiosk. It was great to support a local business that had struggled to stay afloat during Covid. Their prawn twisters were the best! As we sat enjoying lunch on the waterfront my friend Jane commented on how calm it was. Port Albert, as we were to find out, can get mighty windy.
Later that afternoon we drove into Yarram, a nearby town that’s had a huge facelift during Covid. Facing uncertain economic times a couple of locals commissioned well known street and silo artist Heesco Khosnatan to transform the streetscape and that’s exactly what he did, painting 15 vibrant and colourful murals on walls throughout the town. It’s now affectionately known as HEESCO town and has brought this regional community to life.
That night, back in Port Albert, we enjoyed a peaceful barbecue before a walk out on the jetties. The air was still and the lights from the pier shimmied on the water, it was so calm and mesmerising. Almost too calm.
The following morning I woke to dazzling light breaking through cloud. Change was in the air, I could feel it. Throwing on a coat, I left hubby sleeping and was lulled out to the pier … and then the next pier … and before I knew it I was down at the wharf. I walked the entire length of the town and the foreshore, all still wearing my nightie underneath my coat! Good thing it was only me and the early birds about!
I remember looking up, into the sun and feeling such a burst of love, such gratitude for life, such wonder at our world. My heart was overflowing. Have you ever had those moments of pure joy, that reduce you to tears because of their sheer beauty? Moments that make you feel so alive, so at one with creation. That’s how I felt. It was overwhelming in its intensity.
I stopped, closed my eyes. Stood and breathed it all in.
At the still point
Where the Calm is
In the eye of the storm
Amidst the chaos of reality
There I found myself. (Tusasi Menon)
By the time I got back to the van the colours and the light were disappearing. As quickly as the light had shone through the clouds and lit up the sleepy port, they had darkened. The waters now resembled a rippling and rumbling beast. Such is mother nature’s unpredictable moods.
Then the winds came, so ferocious I thought we would be blown from Oz to Kansas. Trying to pull the pop top roof down caused some colourful language from the other half. Then a huge gust lifted the top and shifted the roof and things fell into place. Hubby, who’s not religious, told me afterwards the Jayco Gods must have been looking out for us. I told him, by crikey, I sure as shit was praying! And someone up above listened.
Life’s rarely perfect. It’s not all sunshine. We all know that as we navigate this strange year. As I type this (one fingered and completely on my IPhone) I’m grateful for it all. Here the only distraction is the cosy sound of rain on the roof of our van and cockatoos in the distance.
The sun will come out again. We’ll sit outside (I hope) and hear the birds, maybe catch some stars if the clouds lift and, if they don’t, life will go on. The sun will still rise tomorrow.
Now, I’m writing again, it’s nearly seven hours after I started this post. It’s nearly midnight. Earlier the rain bucketed down, the winds came and afterwards so did a faint rainbow. Then, as though the angels decided to give us a reprieve during dinner, the clouds morphed to blue sky and sunshine dazzled across the water. The light was beautiful and dinner was another glorious moment to give thanks for.
When grey skies turn to bliss, who needs a five star restaurant when you have a view like this?
What lights you up and brings you joy? Whatever it is, do more of it. Look for the colour amongst the grey. A silver lining amongst the clouds. The empathy amongst the division. Wherever you are, my wish for you is for colour, love and light to fill up your world.
Stay well and don’t let the storm clouds dull your path. Remember the truth of nature, that light always shines through the darkness. Faith always triumphs over fear. And love always wins.
In love and light