Friday, February 03, 2012

small steps back to the wild places

I forgot how much I enjoyed being in wild places.

I can breathe.

I can hardly believe I forgot that feeling.

Before children, packing up the essentials, driving beyond civilisation and walking into the wild was something I, and small group of close friends, did several times a year.  Instead of exploring the cities of the world, as my uni friends were doing, I was exploring the wild places, not too far from home.  Day walks were frequent occurrences and we planned one challenging extended walk most years.  I looked forward to the challenge, the achievement and the expression of a different part of me.

Since having a family it just hasn't happened.  There were the babies.  Four in the end.  I was pregnant and exhausted or the smallest was too little or I was breastfeeding and couldn't leave them or they were walking and wouldn't sit in the pack carrier for long enough.  And then there's my dear husband.  He prefers not to carry a pack and walk through the relentless bog and heat and rain and over tree roots and scree, just to get to a peak and have to do it all again to get back.  Plus, there's no Wi-Fi in the wild places!!

So, for the past ten years, the pack was hiding in a cupboard, the boots hosted spiders on the shoe rack and the clothing used for gardening in.  I was busy with hormones and marriage, nappies and playgroups, school uniforms and play dates.  And I still am.  But the dream of the wild places is still there, the thoughts of the open spaces still entertained.  This has not been the time until now.

With planning of epic proportions, we got there.  My mum and I, with my newest friend, her girl and my boys, met my oldest friend and her girls at Cradle Mountain.  We walked the Dove Lake Circuit track, otherwise known by us as the 'Reebok track' for how easy it is to walk, ie. you can do it in your sneakers.  It is a start.  As much as I would love to walk the South Coast Track again, it is not possible with a 5 and 7 year old walking beside me, wanting to hold my hand.  And that's OK.  I loved having my boys experience what I love about being in the wild places.  And wanting to do it with me.  If they still want to bushwalk with their mum when they are grown, I'll be happy!

We walked past the boat shed, through the Ballroom Forest and up to Lake Wilkes for a lunch stop.  My kids had a great time, exploring the tracks, finding a forest playground, lookouts and secret pathways and running off alot of energy. 

I had a great time.  I lounged and chatted, I connected and extended friendships.  I put stuff aside, just for now.

I breathed.

I do when I'm out there.  I am able to breathe. 

I see things that I don't normally notice.  I am able to think, develop ideas and reflect.  It's good!  I need to take the time away from the daily, the normal, the necessary to do this, even when it is hard.  And I can do it.  It is so worth it!

And I remember that now.

That is my small step this week.  Remembering why and making plans.  Knowing that I need to.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

John Muir

What helps you to breathe?

Linking up to Just Write and Imperfect Prose.


  1. A really beautiful blog Nona. Maybe 3G might be an option for the Internet next time for your husband.

  2. A tear to my eye as I remember why we moved to Tassie in the first place and re-think and re-jig our lives to find it somewhere else. Liz in Bunbury

    1. Good luck on your search for a new wild place Liz. xoxo

  3. I loved reading this. It made me cry. I'm so glad you were able to go and breathe. I'd love to join you sometime - maybe we'll have to do this in the next 3-4 months! Even just the Reebok Track! It's about all I could do at the moment anyway! BeckJ

  4. wow. i am so glad you linked with imperfect prose. i truly love your writing, and your bio nona... and i'm a HUGE fan of hiking. i am adding your blog to my blog roll. peace to you friend! e.

  5. really enjoyed reading your blog nona. child minding available to give you time to breathe some more. When you do more breathing you are able to enjoy all the hard but worthwhile work of raising kids and husbands.

  6. i adored hiking as a kid, but now we're in the smack dab midwest of the states. (translation: mile after flat mile of farmland. beautiful, but flat.)

    but we camp and explore woods and take day trips and do what we can to Generate Wonder right here.

    i'm glad you're heading back to your wild places. i think one day i'll manage it too.

    1. I'm sure you will to Nic. Best wishes for the journey.

  7. I know just how you feel, I need wide open spaces just to breathe sometimes too. This is why I love living in the Midwest...There's nothing like an open cornfield. I would love to see you over at our new meme Painting Prose.

    1. Thanks, I'll stop over some time.


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