At the beginning of this month I moved into an old (but beautifully renovated) farm cottage on Kiels Mountain, on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Queensland, Australia. It is high enough to attract rain and mist, which are welcome visitors so far as the rainforest and its inhabitants are concerned.
And in spite of being only a few kilometers from local villages, the beach and coastal busyness, it has the feel of remoteness. It is my Cloud Mountain, and I am a happy hermit. In my morning scribblings, haiku begin to appear:
Mistiness in close –
drowning out my loneliness,
a Currawong choir.
Lost; an innocent
here, in spacious aloneness –
something Wild finds me.
Alone in the bush,
befriended by Beingness,
I stop asking why.
Why is it that in the rainforest one’s thoughts are delivered in clusters of 17 syllables?
festooning this palm
the then, the now and the next
my fleeting life’s fruit
not yet eight o’clock
and the far ridge is hazing
summer burns the bush
no cell phone signal
a total power blackout
listen! the wind sighs
sucking as though convinced
their last supper’s tonight and
Tamborine Mountain, in the great down-under called Oz, wraps its stony self in subtropical rainforest garb. Peering through spaces in the forest bordering this property I see cultivated areas of huge avocado and macadamia nut trees. There’s a large tree massed with flowers of scarlet. Beyond, there’s a stand of huge eucalypts, and it’s through their open arms that the sky shows gold, then pearl, as the great Shining climbs out of the Pacific and over the rainforest rim.
I notice that as this verdant vista unfolds in perception, it brings up a bouquet of similar delights archived in this particular memory: Normandie, Norway and New Zealand, the English Lake District, Uttarkashi in the Himalaya, and the Western Ghats in Kerala, India. Each vignette bears its unique geographical and chronological label, yet all places and all times exist nowhere but now–here in this vastness of mind.
On the first day of a new month in New Zealand we used to say “rabbits” before uttering any other words. I have no idea why rabbits – but it was considered bad luck to forget!
I’m on the other side of the Tasman on this first morning of a new month. And I think of those ‘Kiwi’ rabbits as I watch a huge hare feeding in the field outside Bliss Cottage.
There he sits, utterly present, ears poised, munching, washing his face with deft paws, then rubbing those paws together whilst perched on his powerful hind legs, turning to each of the four directions one by one. He’s a creature wholly at one with his habitat.
The mountain is still rain-cloud shrouded with pale shafts of sunlight breaking through, but hare doesn’t seem to care. The fresh grass growth is juicy and moist with ever-present mist. He just gets on with hare-ing naturally in here and now.
Hare. And. Now.
Image: Copyright Austin Thomas
again, the rain
the huge trees softly shrouded
music dripping, sloshing, trickling
mozzies incarnating for the bite of a lifetime
mold and mustiness and mushrooms:
the sublime suchness of the rainforest
If one has to have a name, why not ‘Destiny’? All the billions of apparently individual persons existing in the phenomenal world are but one power, one Life-energy moving through Life-patterns determined by destiny.
Some call destiny ‘God’s Will,’ others refer to ‘Cosmic Law’. Destiny is the simply the unfolding of circumstances according to genetics, structure, environment and experience, all powered by Life’s natural impulse to move, to grow, to unfold and expand.
Destiny is a picture too vast to be comprehended by this miniscule thought-bubble called me, yet it is none other than mySelf in motion.
life in the clouds that shroud a rainforest mountain is languid life
all sound is muffled by mist; even birdcall echoes as from afar
mold and mushrooms thrive
keeping the cottage and its contents dry is impossible
my paintings warp and ripple, my books buckle
suchness is this damp world dripping
then scrolling back
I’m living in a Chinese painting …
and here, here
the vast no-thing called I
knows no damp or dry