A journey of discovery…

Entry 10 – Saturday, April 24th, 1982

Entry 10 – Saturday, April 24th, 1982

A few days had passed since I had thought about telling Pa. But as much as I had wanted to, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it… not yet. There had been so many new developments since the storm – all happening so close together, it had become overwhelming. Besides, it could wait. I wanted to find out as much as I could before showing him.

I looked out over the bush from Pa’s veranda while I munched on my Vegemite toast. I could hear the bell birds chiming happily from the trees as a lone cloud, fluffy and white slowly shuffled across the blue sky. I glanced at Pa, sitting on the other side of the table and smiled.

Winking at me, he took another bite of his toast. “Are you up for a picnic today mate?” he asked between chews. “It looks like it will be a great day for it.”

I gulped down the last of my glass of milk, then nodded. “Sounds good Pa, whereabouts?”

He relaxed back into his chair, “I thought I could take you up to the ridge today. I don’t think you’ve seen that yet have you?”

I hadn’t been to the ridge, let alone even heard of it. “No, I haven’t – where is it?”

“Well, instead of heading towards the creek…” he explained. “You head north through those trees for a few clicks. It’s a solid walk, but worth it. You up for it?”

I nod enthusiastically. “That would be great thanks Pa”

He takes a sip of his tea, his eyes going glassy as he wistfully looks through the trees, the creases at the edge of his mouth crinkle and his cheeks rise. It was obviously a special place to him.

“Alright. It’s settled then mate. I’ll make some sandwiches, get some lamingtons ready and we’ll head off around eleven thirty. You should bring your sketch book. It’s a great place.”

I stand up, taking the empty plates with me. “I will, thanks Pa.” I reply, walking inside… the window rock weighing in my pocket as I move. “Let’s see what we can find.”

——————————–

The ground was becoming a bit steeper and the path we had been following was becoming narrower and more overgrown with every step. Greyish rocks began to litter the landscape, peeking out from the ground, watching us walk with ancient eyes.

Pa walks strongly, without hesitation, despite these impediments and I have to take a few quick steps every now and then just to keep up. He knows the land well, striding ahead confidently. He speaks little, but at one point I think I spot the sunlight reflect off damp eyes.

“Are you ok Pa?” I ask, trying to catch my breath.

He comes to a stop, but doesn’t turn around. “I used to come up here with your grandmother. I haven’t been up this path since she passed away.”

I don’t know what to say. My mouth opens, but no words escape. My brain fumbles for what to do, but to no avail. Without thinking, I move up next to Pa, who is staring ahead, lips trembling and hug him tightly. His eyes twitch, trying to stem the flow of tears. But to no avail. My eyes fill with tears too as memories of my parents flood back.

We stay there hugging for a moment until Pa breaks the silence with a huge sigh.

“Stuff the sandwiches… I feel like having some lamingtons.” He laughs, rubbing his eyes with his sleeve. “Let’s get going. We’re almost there.”

Looming in front of us was a broad rock face several meters high. Moss clung to it like a mother to a babe and ferns burst forth from cracks and crevices. We followed the path to the left as it curved up and around the side of the rock face. It was steep, and the path was muddy, but there were strong grey stones dotted along the path which made it easier.

Without stopping, Pa calls out from ahead. “I put the stones on the path after your grandmother broke her arm in sixty four.”

As I rounded the last corner, the path opened out onto a large plateau covered in small ferns, moss and rocks. Two large rocks, firmly embedded in the earth sat next to each other, as if nature was providing seating for the view down the hill.

“The ridge.” Sighed Pa, sitting down on one of the rocks. “Now, about those lamingtons.” He smiled opening his bag.

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