Sunday, August 26, 2007

finding home

Slowly, slowly Frank and I are digging our toes deeper into the soil sand of Tasmania and making it our home. At times I find this a difficult task - I never in my wildest imaginings envisaged myself living on a small island cut off from the rest of the world.

At other times Tasmania seems the most perfect place on earth. Idyllic. Why would I ever consider living anywhere else? This weekend was one of those times.

With a view to becoming true Tasmanians, we partook of the local shack culture. Most longtime Tasmanians seem to own two homes - one in which they participate in everyday mundanity, the other the shack where they occasionally kick back and enjoy the delights nature has to offer at the beach or by a mountain lake with good fishing. Christmas, Easter and any other long weekend provide the perfect excuse for hiving off to the shack to relax.

I've come to discover the word 'shack' is applied rather liberally and loosely in this part of the world - it may mean a literal shack banged together out of scrap metal and plasterboard from here and there, or alternatively it may refer to a mansion that one only sometime inhabits. This is a case in point!

Some people are particularly generous with their shacks, and offer it out to friends and family, although never at Christmas or Easter. Frank and I fell on our feet when longtime clients asked if Frank would be willing to undertake some tree work at their seaside shack... in exchange for a weekend's accommodation. But not at Christmas or Easter.

It was a tough decision, but we decided someone had to do it, so last Thursday we dragged ourselves to the east coast to chop down a couple of trees. And put our feet up.

We rediscovered what makes living in Tasmania so delightfully easy. It's a stunner of a place. Absolutely beautiful. We stayed in a demure shack just outside Swansea, at a place called Dolphin Sands (and yes, yesterday in the morning sun the dolphins came out to play while the seagulls dive bombed for fish from above). If you check out the map, Dolphin Sands is on the spit of land north east of Swansea. Right across Great Oyster Bay from the Hazards of Freycinet Peninsular. In September last year we stayed nearby, and our return confirmed what we had already begun to suspect - this is our new favourite place in Tasmania... no. wait... our new favourite place in the whole wide world even!

It wasn't all play... we had trees to fix remember? OK, so Frank did most of the work, but I did drag branches and take photos while narrowly escaping being clonked on the head by big pieces of wood! Frank sweetly agreed that I was an excellent worker. I think he might just love me a lot...

And then it was time to kick back, relax and enjoy the scenery.

There was lots of scenery to enjoy...

... I know, I know... it's almost the same picture, but if only you could have seen it. I could fill this whole post with photos from end to end and not capture the incredible beauty. So like it or lump it, here are two photos you must endure in my effort to convey the lushness, the delight, the mystery of that place.

Slowly some of my world-weariness began to slip away. That assignment-induced tension loosened its hold on my gut, church politics paled into insignificance in the face of this sacred space that shouted the existence of a magnificent God, and my breathing gradually evened out.

This... This... This is where life is at! Dropping the heavy load out the car window on the way, drinking in the stillness (between the water lapping the shore, and the fading fizz of receding waves was only silence), allowing the stillness to invade my mind, stamping out the voices attempting to drag my thoughts away from that place and back to pesky troubles, wind fanning my cheeks, loveliness soothing my eyes, God calming my heart.


So now I'm back home, enriched. Mind momentarily cleansed, thinking more clearly than I have for a while, realising Tasmania really is the place to be, grateful to God for his gift of love in bringing me to a place that is beyond anything I could imagine, gulping down the beauty as he restores my soul.

I think I'm ready to write that assignment now.

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At 2:53 am, August 27, 2007, Blogger merrymishaps said...

It's beautiful!

I hope someday you have a "shack" of your own too! (Of course, one that leans on the nicer end of the shack spectrum)

I suppose that would be what we tend to call "Vacation Homes!"

At 8:01 am, August 27, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

So glad you got away. The slideshow's cool. Dolphins in the morning!! Tasmania sounds wonderful; perchance we can visit when you and Frank get your shack someday.

At 9:07 am, August 27, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

Perfect time for you to be entering with spring. A new beginning and understanding. You deserve the best.

I worked for a logger/botanist this summer, part-time of course, between my two other jobs. It's not easy work, physically a good work out. It was so much fun getting to know more about trees. The guy I worked for used everything from the chips, fire wood, to logs for his daughters log cabin. Amazing. I'm in awe of people who can trim trees to help them grow.

At 3:22 am, August 28, 2007, Blogger Mike S said...

Sounds terrific. Your 'shacks' seem to be our 'camps'. Most are within a half hour drive of home in summer and unreachable in winter, except by skiis, etc. The range is the same as well, real tossed together places to half-million dollar homes for the summer. You definitely need one, great for relaxing away the woes of the artificial world of man's making.

At 8:20 pm, August 30, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous gorgeous! It was cool to see Frank in action too :) So glad you guys got away from it all...


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