I’ve crept out out of the hotel room, leaving behind my sleeping roommates, and am writing this from the lobby of the Hobart Quest Hotel. Last night, we sought out the Lark Distillery, where we sampled the local specialties, some whiskey for the others and a taste of the pepperberry (?) liquor, which one of the guides on the hike yesterday recommended. He gave us all a leaf to sample, sweetly peppery and pleasant (also tiny red mountain berries, which tasted like the smallest apple in the world). I tried an alcoholic ginger beer, which didn’t taste appreciably different from the regular, and we played cards. Rummy, for which we had three different forms of rules (imagine that! A Brit, an American, and an Australian) and listened to the Celtic band that set up. A good time all around. You can also play bolles on the lawn, if you’re so inclined.
We travel to see who we are as much as to see the world. Hiking in the dark-and-light day yesterday, I was as peaceful as it is possible to be, my feet on the trail, my pack filled with heavier clothes and water and some rations, just in case. A knowledgable pair of guides who spend their lives outside, who know what the bushes are, and the berries and the age of the trees. A couple out of Melbourne, just in Tassie for the weekend, trying on lives to see where they might fit.
Sometimes I forget I am not in America, and then I’ll hear the cadence of voices around me and think peacefully, “oh, yes, this is Australia.”
Where is the writing in all this? This morning, I noted that I feel like there is fresh lava moving in me, deep and rich and hot, full of power. But I think it’s more like the growing forest, full of new birds and plants I’ve never seen before and 800 varieties of trees that offer oxygen to the skies.
We are headed for Uluru in the morning. Talk about contrast!
Still working on those photos. And I realize I haven’t blogged about the conference at all, which was absolutely wonderful.