400: Without complaint

by Danny James

Strange, where can one year place you. Or rather, what winds you no longer permit access to your sails. You recover eventually, when softly serve the seas to your harbour home, past what tempest inflicts its bitter tutelage that they do not cease so much as change in form and verve. The survivors and the tellers of their accounts have these insights passed down many since the very first interruption, – how strong men disappear and all kingdoms become dust. That he who is not prepared for disaster has not yet approached the defining torment of his tenure. Not yet had his greatest efforts curtailed by the instant, his hopes dashed upon the rocks like glass, nor been thrust helpless and broken upon a distant shore to contemplate long and lone, the final fairness of fortune. These are the years a man needs to carve his character and rebuild his principles from which might he rise again to reach for the horizons that hold his home.

I would sit by my window each morning writing letters to my friend, enjoying the pleasing song of the Auroral birds and moments of first sunlight. Soft Spring afternoons walking beneath halls of bristling trees that celebrated along the back streets. Autumns quickening across the Eastern Coastline trails groaning against the cliffs. These were quiet days in Bondi, where my heart did not shudder to where I took it and a calm had prevailed there at long last. Finally had I forgotten myself and saw grow in the warm fading afternoon light, a healthy recognition and respect for my surroundings once more. I felt in and through me, careening every pore and corridor the dynamic current of a deep and satisfying attunement with existence. I saw but only better days ahead, and breathed in long and happy the atmosphere of the life I was living presently and nothing could have thrown my down.

Yet, I had allowed a clumsiness with blessings to defeat me. By not daring to think myself deserving, I found myself quite unprepared for fortunes favour much less the ramifications of abiding my own impossible moral code. I looked for complexity and escape, a trapdoor in the rainbow, a reason to leave, to strive, to discard what peace and guiltlessness had I gathered because I knew not how to no longer struggle. It can be fatiguing being amazed all the time and preferring instead the comfort of falling and familiarity in moments of forgetfulness, you lay down in submission and allow the tensions overlap. I stopped marvelling at the Nature of things and sought instead to turn my back on Nature Herself and leave Her wide-eyed, agape and utterly alone; cut Her off of Her sweet intent, and succour all that would aim to render Her ridden. So I did thus, closed the shades, put down my pen and thought myself right out of the Nirvana in my lap. I strayed, plain and simple. Wandered from all that was possible of life because I was afraid of just what potency of rational spontaneity I did possess, and I do none or myself justice attempting to calculate it now, by fertilizing those plains where none from which but utter desolation grows. Because in the end, nothing is quite as important as you might first think at the time of thinking it. I strayed. The mind its own mountains can make, and one who for none but hindrances seeks so shall create them. What does not endeavour to cast a light across the plains embraces the cold and restriction of the valley floor. I took an interval from the life that I had constructed up to then. I’d packed my books and walked away, stole into woodlands remote and bustling cities not my own. I sought to be silent and welcoming to the ulterior perspectives of poets, philosophers, the vagrants and the drifters all getting along in the ways they new best. To let the thoughts come that Naturally may, that all the rest no grave import might prove and lo, like most things one decides to warp no further with imagination, shall begin to suddenly into its appropriate proportions fade. It needed to become clear again what it was that I did value, and who; What would I withstand for whom I love, what hardship could I absorb to uphold those precepts that I treasure most, and, within the kernel of those reflections I found reasons instead of rules for which to save my place in life and not go sauntering off into the woods resigned. Reasons that would implore me thus to emerge from my hovel with a greater surge of energy and an outlook far grander than ever before, to immerse myself engaged and ready so completely into all the possible experiences that this world as we now know it has to offer, and to make the very most of it all.

Just as at this time last year, there are some fine times ahead that will for many more afterward linger like a last lance of sunlight across the fading meadows of memory. My dear sister and husband have extended an invitation to visit them over Christmas and finally to meet my nieces I have heard so much about. Their cheerful slice of paradise they’ve crafted for themselves resides in the Tropical North Of Queensland among the surrounds of the Atherton Tablelands. I expect hikes in the hills and through the rainforests in search of hidden freshwater streams. Un-hurried walks in the cool shade of dawn, then eggs, coffee and reading on the back patio. Warm evenings in the hammock watching the stars awaken one by one, as the barbecue hisses followed by a gathering of smiling faces, great company, conversation and merriment the much long into the night. There’ll be S, of course. Strong, sassy and quietly brilliant, laying by the fire of our campsite next to the creek that drapes its way among the dunes and wilds, on and on and evermore. S runs along sunsets like a portrait and her bronzed sinews glisten fantastically in the blood orange sun. A few strands of sand-coloured hair escape their bonds and hug her cheek and I’ll want nothing more than to kiss her supple lips and leave my rushing life in Sydney to stay with her on the blanket by the fire. Instead I’ll slowly walk home from visiting with her and it’s the fact that I cannot simply pack up and start over again that makes our time together among the most heart stirring and perfect. Because though everything is now in focus and determined does not presume that it will be entirely likeable and never mind. The evening sky will convulse a haze of violet and glowing tangerine swirls behind the high hills and a gentle breeze will complement the warmth. The Universe and whatever particles make up my soul will seem to be mingled, same and jovial. I’ll finally give way to a smile sincere and knowing that with all the bitter and the balm, the noise and the calm the Universe is just, and all will be well in the end as ever. I’ll be happy and content in this moment with everything to be grateful for and everything to look forward to and I’ll ride this state without complaint unto my home somewhere in the gold and purple sunset.

Cairns, Christmas 2014

Cairns, Christmas 2014