Portrait of an Evening

Journal Excerpt, Family Holiday, June 4

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“It is the third day of winter. The days are warm enough to blush the skin and the nights cool enough to warrant slippers and steaming mugs. Oh Queensland, your beauty! It is golden hour and the shadowy green lawns are strewn with yellow highlights as the sun ducks beneath the horizon. The eucalyptus trees are glimmering and the afternoon is a symphony of bird-song, colour and water rushing over river rocks. Around me, voices hum and chat. There is the loud chewing of pretzels and the slurping of chocolate milk. Here, two people sit with foreheads wrinkled in concentration over ColorKu, and there a little brother whoops over the discovery of another fish in the creek. My little girls are napping: one, hair and legs strewn over pillow and bed, those dear lips slightly parted in heavy, peaceful breathing, having finally succumbed to holding still enough to shut her eyes. The other is tucked up onto my chest. Her soft breath is warm and puts goosebumps on my skin chilled by twilight. Three little boys kick a ball down the hill, the birds are chirping good-nights and the cows in the neighbouring pasture mosey slowly along the fence towards home. The french-press has been brewed now and an array of hot teas are fanned across the table. Mama just brought me a blanket for my legs and the dying sun is level with my face. There is talk of a campfire and the inevitable s’mores, and we all know that a proper holiday requires all participating members to be doused in the scent of wood-smoke. I relish the gift of this moment, this grace of rest and renewal. The country is God’s place, I’m sure. I feel His presence especially much now, but I think I’m just finally quiet enough to be aware. I whisper a prayer now, a longing for refreshment and a new vision: “Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation!”IMG_6799

 

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Weekend: Noosa, Belmondo’s Organic Market + Boreen Point

So, number 27 on my bucket list, if I would have a number twenty-seven, would be “Photo-journal my way through the Sunshine Coast.” There are several fantasy occupations that have always rotated through my dreams: midwifery, photojournalism, and attending culinary school. I’m crossing my fingers that all three of these will one day become reality, and as for this photo thing, while I’m not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination, I love recording those tiny moments that make my eyes sparkle and saving them to later re-live the memories already faded.

We’re living on the Sunshine Coast for at least a year, while David does his year of internship at the local hospitals. Before our move, this felt like a dream (so close to family! Ten minutes from the beach! Endless things and places to see and eat and hike!) But, as happens to all places that slowly become ones’ home, it became simply that: home, not a tourist destination.

Now, as the months wind down and I am able to move out of the obligatory housebound days of all things newborn, I can’t wait to explore, see this slice of our world, and then leave, feeling like we made the absolute most out of our time here. Yesterday my sister and I rolled out a big sheet of brown paper to hang on a spare wall: a to-tackle list full of lookouts to look at and mountains to climb and waterfalls to see and coffee to drink. We’ll be checking them off one at a time, and a few of the haunts might show up here.

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Last Saturday, Heidi took me out for the day to celebrate the next day’s birthday. It wasn’t a bright day with a blue sky as we had formerly hoped, but when all four of us were buckled into the car (this, as it happens, is a rather large feat) and rain pattered on the windshield while the wipers worked vigilantly to clear it away, we decided there could be nothing more perfect than clouds and rain showers. It lasted just long enough to make our road trip cosy, then the sky cleared and we were able to stroll around town with the sun in our faces.

First on the agenda: digging for treasures in a couple op shops and feeding a screaming baby in the car before breaking at Padre Coffee Roastery:

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Places that serve coffee, freshly-roasted and ground on the premises and presented in bowls instead of lousy small mugs, always get an automatic five stars.

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After coffee, we spent the rest of the morning just around the corner at Belmondo’s Organic Centre, a sweet little marketplace with a bulk food section, sourdough bakery, deli, fruit + veg shop, florist, roastery, and so many local products: gifts, pottery, cheeses, etc.

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Because of the afternoon’s choice of weather, we didn’t get to go on the walk through the National Park like we wanted to, so the photos below are from a few months ago when we went to the same place. Noosa is a favourite spot (extra special of course since it’s where we had our first date and where we spent the day of our engagement!) but it can be very crowded and touristy and a nightmare as far as parking is concerned. The Great Walk through Noosa’s National Park is only a short drive away from the main street, but so quiet, peaceful, and definitely worth checking out if you are in the area anyhow and tired of crowds!

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We went as far as Hell’s Gates: there are gorgeous views of the cliffs and spectacular ocean views on both sides. Note: only the first little bit of the track is paved/wheelchair-accessible/pram-friendly: the rest is sandy or brushy, so only suitable to do on foot. 

IMG_4823Did I say spectacular views? The ocean behind him was pretty nice too! Also, how was she so liitttle?

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The day had a spectacular finish. David met us in Noosa after work, armed with a quilted blanket and wicker picnic basket. Kezia went home with Heidi in his car, and the two of us + baby headed out for the evening to Boreen Point, a little section off of Lake Cootharaba.

photo5Boreen Point at sunset. The temptation to trespass onto this private jetty and have our picnic there was pretty strong. 

We arrived just as the sun was slipping behind the mountains. The air was still and fresh, hardly anybody was in sight, and the only sounds were tired birds and the mini waves licking the sand.

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After we finished our little picnic and watched the last of the day’s light die ahead us, David took me just around the corner to the Boreen Point Pub, an old building that once resided in Gympie, was cut in half, and transported south to be restored and put to use again. I loved it: the building sat on a hill, with gnarly trees to the side and a vast lawn sloping down the front. All the tables were scattered along the open verandas and under the trees, and it was so fun to sit there with the typical big plates of pub food, listening to the locals chatting around us with their broad accents and friendly demeanours. The whole area had such an old-town, Aussie-outback feel and we loved it. Apparently they have fantastic Sunday lunches there also, with pigs on the spit and up to 300 people spilling across the premises. Live music plays and the adults eat pork and chat at the tables outside while all the kids play in the yard. What fun!

There was one thing I loved most of all that day.  Intimate dates made of fancy restaurants, deep talks, and the stereotypical romance are rarely in the picture right now with a dependent three-month-old who does not care for noise, crowds, late evenings, or God forbid, going an hour without milk. But you know, this is a good kind of different. Out there in the country, after we ordered our food, Ela had a meltdown, induced by a busy day and no proper naps. David took her from me, put her in the baby carrier, and walked back and forth across the lawn and up and down the street to settle her to sleep while I sat there at the table, my heart at rest and basking in romances far greater than goblets or fancy menus and polished crowds. I stared out into the dark where I could just make out the silhouetted form of my husband, bouncing, patting, swaying, walking. The man I love caring for and singing to our child while my heart surged with gratitude for this stage of our lives and for the father of these children. That was what I loved most that day.

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