the rain came down all night
it teamed it bucketed it pelted and it poured.
just before dawn another storm joined the party only this one turned up with the orchestra
the bang and crash of drum , the wind instruments and the loud voices of bass and tenor added a melody of gusts that slammed into us whipping the rain up and slinging it around, spraying our verandahs soaking the tables and chairs, the fire wood , lawnmower , the towels and shoes.
it seemed to be dark when Kingston knocked on our door , John heard it and wished he would go away but quickly realised a frustration was building so he let him in.
with two dogs under his arms he clamoured into bed and snuggled me, singing songs about the monkey that fell off the bed and had to get mummy to call the doctor and the doctor said no more monkeys climbing on the bed.
he has the song word-perfect and loves repeating it endlessly.
feeling we needed to change the record him and I got out of bed
and decided that it was exactly the sort of morning for pancakes .
outside the kitchen the waterfall from the guttering was cascading into the tank and everywhere the world was sodden.
speaking of waterfalls
John took me to meet a waterfall at Nethercote the other day,
not far from the town of Pambula on the Yowaka River in very steep country there is a series of cascades that pour water from pool to pool
some of them as small as a bath tub others of swimming pool size.
first we had to negotiate a steep track that said 4wd.
I hung on , a bit put off by the sticking up rubber rollovers that have to be flattened down to drive over and the powdery gravel that loves to skidd a back wheel but John took no notice and we made it to the car park .
from here it was another steep walking track thru thick forest sporting a lot of rainforest opportunists and the commanding ping of the bellbird.
a sign halfway pointed out to us the rare and precious species of flora and fauna to be found in this reserve, some at its southernmost range,
mostly the vegetation reminded me of home.
at the bottom we crossed the river and wound our way along the side of a hill only occasionally able to see the river.
the sound of the waterfall moved closer and closer.
a picnic table, a couple of tourists from Victoria, a gravelly rocky shore and a gorge about 40 metres long that dead ended.
water gushed out of an opening in the cliff and dropped 10 metres into a very deep clear pool. the cliffs towered on another 100 metres up into the sky and behind the waterfall there appeared to be a dark recess .
in places shrubs and wattles grew out of cracks in the cliffs.
the gorge is made up of a rock known as rhyolite which is a volcanic composition of quartz ,feldspar, mica and hornblende containing a very high silica content.
they are beautiful cliffs holding lots of patterns in their blocked up shapes, faces are easily seen, but there is also an edge of quiet danger as if any one of the cracks could snap and send a slab of rock tumbling down into the bottom of the river.
according to the tourists the waterfall was not at peak and the pool was lower than they had ever seen it.
we ate our tomato sandwiches, chewed on a cucumber, drank our tea hot and strong from the thermos and shared an orange almond cake from Wild Rye bakery at Pambula.
the sounds of the falls plummeting mingled with the voices of young people exploring , breezes ruffled our curls and teased us with stories of a blackfella time ; fire, food gathering and community.
in some ways nothing has changed, the river is the river, the rock is rock and still people come and explore raising their voices in excitement and wonder to be playing with the edge of nature.
no one jumped that day but they do , they scale one side of the gorge and leap off disappearing into a mountain of bubbles coming up and flicking wet hair off their grinning faces.
after eating we sun baked lazily on a rock like lizards before slipping our bodies over and into the water,
it was shockingly cold and luxurious at the same time
a melding of cells, an assembly of molecules, a joining of relations,
the blood that flows thru my veins meets the blood that flows thru the arteries of this planet.
tiny fishes dart around, taddies nibble at weedy stuff clinging to the slippery rocks and on a climb up the cliff to get a better look at the cave we spot an eel.
ooh gross, says one of the fair haired campers from Victoria who had asked how the hell we had ridden down the road and how we were going to get back up ?
that is an interesting question says John.
we returned along the river skipping over rocks skirting around pools occasionally plunging thru shrubs and over fallen logs.
by the time we reached our starting point we were hot and had to embrace the river one more time.
I rode home on the back of the bike feeling refreshed and nurtured but more than that was a feeling of connection
a sense that I had encountered an old friend.
a river, a gorge , a forest a waterfall.
a friend that revealed itself and invited me to share.
that place exists within me now
in my heart and my memory,
a space I can return to whenever I like
a space I can tend and hold dear
a friend I was truly glad to meet and bring home with me.