Archive for May, 2012
May 6th, 2012
It’s almost a year since Ruth and I first returned to the Edenhope site by driving to it, having completed the one ‘vital’ step that was necessary to the commencement of the ‘whole’ Project: making viable access to it.…
Who could have imagined it would take at least 125 tonnes of materiel transported to it so that construction could begin…. And that yours truly would drive at least thirty five such loads of materials from the village to the site?
John Patrick had made the road – well over eight kilometres of it – with Peter’s ‘Cat’ D-7. We had seen almost all of it by then, on the last of our previous visits. But only this time, on his last day, did we think about the last vital piece that was needed to complete it – surely it would take only another hour or so to make access to the actual site where construction would actually start …..and where materials would be stored.
So, with the D-7 already gone, we had only the ‘Cat’ 950 Loader to do these last eighty meters or so from the ‘circle’ he’d made [really, a theatrical flourish] that signals one’s arrival at Edenhope. He had considered it the exclamation point to mark the end of his contract.
Now, with his usual good will, he agreed to drive up in the ‘Cat’ 950 if only for an hour or so…. We went up behind him in the Kawasaki ‘Mule’ ….and in the space of that ‘hour or so’, just over one and a half hours since setting out on the drive up, he pushed enough bush out of the way just under the high point of our village site to start construction; then parked the loader in a slip [that would one day, as it is today, be an access to the fruit orchard we would plant there]. Whereupon we returned, the three of us, to the shed [down at the village] to take possession of the keys ….and, of course, formal acceptance of ‘the road’. His boat was already waiting to leave ….. we’d pushed him to the limit.
It was much later in the afternoon than we had intended when we set out to spend this, our first night alone at ‘Edenhope’. In the rush we didn’t even consider flashlights but John had left a tool box, a bush knife and a small chainsaw in the ‘mule’.
At about 3.3kms of the road he’d made, mostly parallel to the beach, the road turns west into the deep forest. Three-quarters of a kilometre up that part of the road, on the left, there is an eye-catching torn and twisted stump of root beside the tree it was once part of. It’s a meter tall, but in silhouette, as one approaches, it appears to be a ‘feral’ – and seriously mechant – poodle glaring at whomsoever is intruding upon this enchanted place.
This was the third or fourth time I’d taken notice of it …..a chilly frison announcing the moment of recognition. Although giving me pause, I continued determinedly up the road. After another seven hundred or so metres, I had to brake abruptly; a tree had fallen across the road; it was only a short couple of hours since we drove down past this spot. Nothing so shocking an impediment could have been anticipated. Now night was near; sunset already begun.
It was clearly too big for the small chainsaw; besides, the many pieces it would have had to be cut into ….would still outweigh my ability to move them. The diameter of this fallen tree was close on half a meter.
Evening had already begun to set in and we were hard pressed for an immediate resolution. I just knew that the malevolent spirit was at the bottom of this ….but the direct personal challenge this represented would not daunt us…. Why on earth we hadn’t consider a torch [flashlight] though is still a mystery. I suppose it was the rush.
The Kawasaki was able to avoid the demised tree by going well around it, through the bush as we cleared it, Ruth and I. We made a pathway in an arc of about forty meters radius at its deepest, enough to get past the limbs of it that extended into the bush. That would get us back on the road. Using first the knife, and then the chain-saw, I cut a swath through the bush, fighting the increasing darkness in the headlights of the ‘mule’.
Little-by-little, with enough difficulty [including the drawing of a bit of blood on my foot] we made our way around the darkened bush and back onto the road. We still had almost four kms further to go.
Where we crossed the river – John had made a concrete ford with eight large tubes running through it – all the water passed easily under its roadbed. Then up diagonally across the farther bank. How poignant that it was not light enough to appreciate the beauty and wonder of this ride.
But we got there and parked the Mule in the slip with the Loader. Our arms full we set off in the dark to find our campsite – would we recognize the tarp that covered our hammocks in the dark? But, first, we had to find the site and neither of us were sure enough where it was….
On the second of the terraces we scaled down – or should I say: groped our way – in the dark, me with knife and overnight bag in my hands, I fell ….later having to nurse a few scrapes and a twisted knee [the latter would be remembered for many months]. I’m sure the arc we made should have been straight but it seemed an eternity before the shine of the tarp was at all visible before us. Nor did we realize that we had to descend three or four terraces to get back to this small sanctuary that waited for us.
It is a curious coincidence that one year later our campsite has become the bush kitchen that serves these two temporary cabins we now call bush cabin 1 & 2. And which both [since last week] have solar-powered electric lamps in them.
But that night, exhausted from our ordeal, and shortly after treating scrapes where the skin was broke with silver, we both forwent supper and tried to get comfortable wrapped up in the side-by-side hammocks. It was then that the silence and vastness of the forest around us – against the only sound we could discern: the river some twenty-odd meters below us – confronted the final threshold of awareness that lingered.
Then I heard the voices, along with other sounds like those of a crowd of perhaps women and children a kilometre or so away, ‘impossibly’ deep in the bush ….in the same direction we were facing. After a moment or two contemplating whether or not to ask Ruth if she heard them too, and before I could ….she turned toward me and asked if I heard these ‘same’ voices out there! Oh, yes…..
It was obvious to us both that the veil had been breached ….if ever so lightly ….to accept us in this [up until now] ….their home. And notwithstanding some opposition [let us simply call it that] we were made to feel welcome. Ruth knew it; I knew it. The comfort of ‘being’ was simply sublime. We both fell deeply asleep, curled up in our covers that dark winter night.
* * *
Yes, we’ve learned a lot about the respect one must have for the place one lives. One must come to it with loving-kindness, and humbly so. One doesn’t just step into a house that is – and has been – a natural home to the flora and fauna that have abided there forever. One cannot force ones’ self upon it.
All relationships mature over time; they require ‘give and take’ – surely more give than take. Life offers each of us the opportunity to find balance and purpose within certain delineated perimeters. This is the joy we have come to live with….
Soon the hustle and bustle of the construction phase will be over ….and our forest life turned over again to us. Thus we will learn to express the peace we have begun to know. God this is a magic kingdom! it is heaven. And Love is the path to Peace. And Peace to ,,,,Great Spirit