Sometimes serendipity works for us and everything lines up. Yet, there are those other times when everything falls apart and something is clearly not meant to be…no matter how hard to try to push, shove or force it to happen. Sometimes, the reason becomes apparent and something even better is waiting just around the corner.
Monday, we drove to Cape Byron Lighthouse at Byron Bay but couldn’t get a park and ventured further afield. Tuesday we returned. Not only to get a park but also to find out that for the first time in over 20 years, we were able to go on a tour of the lighthouse and actually go inside, climb the stairs and stand on the balcony surveying Australia’s most Easterly point from higher up. Lighthouse tours are only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays so yesterday’s disappointment was today’s tribulation.
Ever since watching Dead Poet’s Society where John Keating played by Robin Williams gets the kids to stand on their desks and see the familiar from a new, fresh perspective and gain a whole fresh insight into the everyday, commonplace world around them.
“Just when you think you know something, you have to look at in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try.”
John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society.
So, as we started climbing up winding spiral staircase, I was mesmerised, captivated both by the scenes I captured through the windows on the way up but also that sense of following in the lighthouse keeper’s footsteps and stepping way back in time. I love history and I was almost getting high living and breathing it as we climbed those stairs.
A spiral staircase is a rarity and I only recently heard about Coco Chanel’s famous spiral staircase which was lined with mirrors and apparently she could stand at the top and see it all.
Naturally, the lighthouse staircase lacked all of that glamour but it did have brass railings, which were brightly polished back in the day. Children were not to touch them at all and smudge them with their fingerprints.
While it was wonderful climbing up the stairs and looking out the windows along the way taking photos, I almost held my breath as the guide opened the door with its shiny brass knob for us to step outside onto the balcony. This has always been a forbidden zone and now we were finally about to be let out. I couldn’t wait.
Perhaps, this great excitement explains my clumsiness. As I moved to step through the door, I tripped over my walking stick and went flying through the door and into the balcony wall, no doubt giving the guide a serious heart attack. Mister was right next to me and apparently I freaked him out. On my way down, I apparently grabbed him and he thought the pair of us were about to fly over the edge to our deaths. After all, neither of us is very good at flying.
Actually, Geoff, who as I’ve mentioned before, never lets my love of the story conflict with the facts, said that I apparently pushed him over when I fell. Not as spectacular as flying over the edge together but I did give him a fright.
Mummy can be a liability but I hope I’m proof that a liability can also be an asset!
The 360 degree views from the top of the lighthouse were absolutely breathtaking incredible. I was sprouting more superlatives than a real estate advertisement! ! Beaches stretching North and South and the incredible might and power of the Pacific Ocean to the East and Byron Bay and it’s hinterland including jagged Mt Warning to the West. I could have stayed up there forever and who knows, perhaps the sea gulls could have fed me instead!
Okay! I know I’m dreaming!
After our walk up to the lighthouse, Geoff and the kids followed the walking track down to Australia’s most Easterly point and onto the beach. It’s a pretty steep walk down and I didn’t think I’d make it back up so I stayed up the top by the lighthouse watching tourists photograph fleeting, pixel-sized flashes of passing whales who seriously must laugh at all the tourists snapping away at little more than bare ocean. Been there done that!
I also just happened to mention snakes to a few tourists too. After all, I get no royalty cheque from the Australian Tourism Commission and sharing tales of Australian wildlife is simply being a good host!
That was when I noticed a bride and groom posing for photos on the first lookout down on the track. From where I was standing up the top, I was looking straight at the steep, rugged escarpment and after all our trials and tribulations since the happiest day of our lives, I couldn’t help but think that this rugged road was a good reflection of some of the times ahead. That marriage, life, is not always about experiencing the smooth, easy road but going cross-country and blazing your own trail through the wilderness and all that entails.
I also wondered what it would look like if her veil was blown away in the wind and landed on the rocks? What would it mean?
Hence, I started scribbling down my poem: Beyond the Veil, which you can read here:https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/poem-beyond-the-veil/
Eventually, the rest of the family returned and we were off for more ice cream…a serious family tradition at the light house. By the way, we’re not talking mass produced stuff either but ice cream cones. My favourite flavour is Mango Macadamia which puts you right on location close to the Queensland border in a tropical paradise.
No matter how many times I visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse, it never loses its sense of wonder, it’s beauty and a strange sense of permanence in an environment were the waves and sand are ever changing.
“I AM FOREVER walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain
Kahlil Gibran- Sand & Foam