Twenty-second


Dear July,
We ate breakfast at the market, winding through the aisles in a loose line, separating and converging. We bought tangelos, strawberries, blueberries, an almond croissant, a crepe. I bought a pale green apple juice, hard with ginger.
Our drive through the cane fields was sound tracked by a playlist called “Schoolies Goes Tropical” and Sophie reading us facts about the Bruce Highway. We exclaimed a lot about how pretty it was – with the mountains looming on either side. We spent a lot of the day exclaiming about how pretty things were. As if we needed to say it aloud, to acknowledge it to ourselves and to each other.
At the Babinda Boulders we were greeted by the first of many warning signs. “This creek,” the sign in the carpark said, “has claimed many lives”. We trekked through the forest to look at this treacherous creek and discovered it was pretty. Painfully pretty. Iridescent blue butterflies flitting across it kind of pretty. 

I stood up to my knees in the rapids and as long as I didn’t move, it felt as though I could hold my own against the powerful push of the water. I clambered across the rocks and lowered myself, a couple of steps at a time, into the bracing water. The ground dropped away so rapidly that all of a sudden I was up to my neck. I looked up at the forest and at Casey sitting on tree and Seb standing up to his shins in the creek and Sophie perched on a rock. It was very pretty. Stupidly pretty. We ate tangelos sitting on the rocks, washing our hands in the creek before trekking back up to the car.
The warning signs at Josephine Falls included the precise number of lives which the creek had claimed (14). The rainforest was denser. We stopped on the path and listened to the forest, our giggles breaking the silence as we shushed each other and insistently whispered that we were “having a moment”.

The swimming hole was at the bottom of a series of waterfalls, the biggest high above us. The smallest one you could slide down, Casey said, like a waterslide. The water was so deep and cold that all you could do was fling yourself into the pool and let the air be knocked out of you, kicking across to the large flat rock on the other side. We dragged ourselves and each other up onto the rock which was so slippery that the only option was to scoot up on your belly.
Swimming in the rapids between two levels of a waterfall seems pretty treacherous. But the rocks were smooth enough and the water deep enough that it was something like safe (“this creek has claimed many lives”). We moved through it slowly, a couple of meters at a time. We’d let go and surrender ourselves to the water, letting the current sweep our feet out from under us and carry us over the rocks, until we found another foot hold and could brace ourselves again against the current. The swirling water carried us – a little at a time – to the waterfall – a smooth, steep rock, slippery with algae. And then the water swept us down, quickly enough to pull a whole breath from your lungs before you were plunged into the bubbling pool.
I floated for a while, letting my heart rates return to normal. Something about the clearness of the water and the softness of the light made the fish at the bottom seem very close. But I could stretch my legs to their full length and not even disturb the sand.  I floated on my back, in the impossibly clear water, with the forest above and gentle spray from the waterfall drifting down. And I realised there was no one else; it was just us, in this perfect rainforest pool. And I was overwhelmed for a while by the brutal beauty of it all and by the weight of being in a place like this with people you love.
On the way home we detoured toward a sign for “the Golden Hole”. The Golden Hole, it turns out, is a campground beside a deep blue river. The warning sign was for crocodiles. We stood on the edge of the cobalt creek and exclaimed a bit about how beautiful it was. And then suddenly the light from the setting sun hit the mountain. And through the mist the light formed solid beams of gold, slicing through the cloud-topped peak.

There’s a handful of days in my life that I think were maybe perfect. Days that I want to preserve in resin, like flawless marbles. Today was like that. I want to clutch it in my fist to warm me on days when life is colder and harder. Today, I think, was perfect.  

Alex x

I’m posting a blog for every day in July. Letters to July was inspired by Emily Diana Ruth.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year