Nullarbor coast - South Australia
Celebrating a place
During our travels we often made it a point to “celebrate” a place we found, to cherish and honor it and even make some formal effort to express our appreciation. We would set up our chairs and the little table and sit and let the place speak to us. At times this romantic “style” was something like a “Leitmotif” in our traveling. Travel as finding a beautiful tree to sit under and observe and contemplate – or travel as looking for the mystery and revel in that, rather than discovering facts.
When I turned around to park the motor home properly for such a celebration I knew exactly what I had in mind. Without saying much, Parvin watched with slight concern and a knowing smile when I backed the vehicle up and drove it very carefully all the way directly to the edge. When the rear wheels were about a foot from the edge I set the parking brake as hard as I could and put some rocks behind the wheels.
The entire rear end, probably 8 feet or so, stuck out over the edge, the entrance was still over solid ground, but our sitting area inside and our bed were suspended in mid air.
Parvin stayed outside and kind of waited to see if my exotic idea of a romantic place would dissipate by itself, but I went back and sat on the couch, and I liked it.
“If you want your tea you have to come inside!” I lured her; “there’s no wind in here! And you’ve got to feel this! It’s as if time has stopped in the middle of falling!”
It took a while before she came in and tiptoed to the couch, but then we sat there together and laughed and just observed our feelings. We had our dinner, the wind died down, and the sun, casting a ghostly shadow of the broken land far out over the sea, slowly lost its power and melted into the strange horizon. I stepped outside and, holding on to the entrance door, I allowed myself to pee right down into the open space and follow the perfect arc until it dissolved in mid air.
When we walked around in the vehicle, deeply aware of our refined situation, there was always this delicate enhanced mindfulness in our movements. Could our own movements actually jeopardize the stability of the vehicle? Of course not. But simply being aware of the potential was profoundly interesting.
The initial feeling of alarm, but not exactly knowing for what, gradually changed into a remarkable overall relaxed awareness. We didn’t spill our coffee mugs that day or trip over the carpet; we didn’t speak unnecessary things. Somehow we felt it’s enough to pay attention like this, not to something in particular, but to everything, to live in limbo, at the edge, not really in a dramatic way, exposed to real danger, but with the same attitude. Everything in us and around us seemed to have a mysterious glow of significance, everything mattered. We witnessed life unfolding right there in that moment.
In the sinking light of the day the background roar of the sea underneath – like distant chanting – gently filled the growing stillness. We opened our bottle of wine and clinked glasses:
“To the end of the world - may it never frighten us!”
“May we drink up our life to the last drop
before we complete this fall.”
I opened the window and threw the empty bottle into the night. We held our breath and listened for the splash – it never came.