The imagination of a child is endless at five years of age and mine was no exception. My playtimes usually consisted of stories of the gumnut babies Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs or my favourite story, Peter Pan and his adventures in Never Land.
Whenever I imagined exotic Never Land, I usually thought of an island with crystal clear tropical waters, white sandy beaches, a rocky point and high seas where the mermaids could swim and taunt the pirates. I also thought of green pastures, a long misty gully where Wendy's mossy house must have been built, dark green mountains and low rain clouds. Somewhere a fresh stream of clear water would flow over smooth creek pebbles as fluffy rabbits nibbled blades of grass in the meadows. Never Land was nothing short of a perfect island, with all the riches of the tropics and the comfort of the countryside.
Such distant, fond memories that I rarely think of now in my busy adult life.
Sun shower, Creek bed, Fence post, Fresh water
This past weekend Byron and I embarked on a little road trip to a gorgeous corner of the world. We ordered chocolate milkshakes and iced coffee in a tiny gelato bar in a quaint town called Bellingen. Armed with a packed picnic lunch and loads of free time we sat outside the tiny cafe under a large black umbrella as misty rain floated down around us to the damp pavers. Soon after our arrival a young family settled at a nearby table; Mum, Dad and four of the blondest young boys I have ever seen. The boys were wearing rainbow tie-dyed t-shirts and brightly coloured summer shorts. They had names like Jarrah and Sunny and I loved this about them, without knowing any other details. We struck up a conversation with the friendly family to learn that they had moved to the region a couple of years ago after the parents left busy corporate lives behind in the city. I couldn't imagine a better place to raise a young family than this gorgeous town and it's surrounds and so we asked with hungry enthusiasm where we could enjoy our picnic. We were after local knowledge, from people who knew the area and could offer genuine pearls of wisdom.
A little magical place known as Promised Land was suggested. It was a short drive away, through misty green mountains along a winding dirt road. We drove across cattle grids, over bridges that flood when the heavy rains fall, passed tiny wooden churches on stilts and many, many plump, fluffy cows of every colour you could imagine.
We eventually settled in a tiny picnic area, beside a winding creek with trickling cool freshwater. In recent weeks, the creek had swelled and flooded the very spot where we parked our car but since the water receded, part of the creek bed was dry, exposing large, round grey pebbles and a giant tree stump that had been uprooted in the raging current of the last flood.
We spread a beach towel across the pebbles and opened our picnic hamper to a healthy feast to be enjoyed beside the enchanting Never Never Creek. No sooner had we taken our first bites than the first drops of rain began to fall. A few quick snaps with our cameras, and we were off skipping across the pebbles back to the refuge of the car to eat the remainders of our wraps. I loved the excitement of getting caught in the rain in such a beautiful area. The scent of the country air was so clean and fresh from the sweet shower that I wished I could stay there forever; it was my grown up Never Never Land.