Last night around dusk I went to the grocery store in a coastal town to buy supplies. I pulled up with my (unloaded) bicycle and was about to swing my leg over the top tube when a blonde woman with a Canadian accent smiled and said: “Hey, you must be one a big bike tour!” She could tell from the racks alone.
We got to talking and five minutes later I was riding to her house to stay the night. I planned to leave in the morning, but we stayed up late sharing stories and woke up to tend the garden, mounding dirt over the potato sprouts. By midmorning we were having too much fun sharing stories about water births and floods and gratitude and decided it was too late for me to leave. Then we rode our bikes to the beach.
On the way, Peg & I stopped at a path that goes through the edge of a national park / wildlife reserve. Holy goodness was it gorgeous out there. The walk winds through a swamp and a paperbark forest, alternating between wooden planks and stepping stones––tall cylinders of concrete––that are almost submerged in the wet season.
Right now the ground is dry, dry. There’s less than a foot of rainwater in the tank. We take short showers. The trees held me as we walked. Butterflies flew over our shoulders. It was a scene straight out of a storybook.
Some twenty years ago, Peggy traveled from Canada to Osaka to work as a ski instructor and an English teacher. She lived on the 13th floor of an apartment building in the city. One day she opened her door and stared straight into “the most gorgeous blue eyes attached to the most gorgeous man I have ever seen.”
That guy was Pete, who later said that when he saw Peg, his tongue rolled out across the floor and he had to roll it back up again before he could talk to her. Pete had a dream two years before this chance meeting on the 13th floor. In his dream a woman was walking down the beach with a child in each hand. When he saw Peg, he knew that she was that woman.
Talk about a love story, eh?
My favorite question to ask couples is “how did you meet”?
Peg relocated to Australia to be with Pete and raise their family. They have two teenage kids and live ten minutes from the beach. Pete is a woodworker and Peg works for a company that makes shampoo and dishsoap and vitamins, etc. for a safe (toxic free) home. This morning she gave me a purple pendant to wear as a necklace that gets rid of bad energy. I’m into it.
Peg introduced me to a new word: “furking.”
“It’s a combination of fun and work,” she explains, “which is more or less your life collecting stories on the bicycle, yes?”
I couldn’t help but nod. I learn so much from the people I meet along the way. May the work and the fun in our lives always be joyfully intertwined.
While it’s lovely to unexpectedly stay in one place for a while, I hope to sleep outside again soon. I miss my five billion star hotel.
And as much as I enjoy being transient, I’m looking forward to growing a vegetable garden somewhere down the line. I will pour my heart into that veggie garden. It will be delicious. When I mound potatoes, I will think of Peg.
It’s 5:55pm and almost completely dark, but the days are getting longer down under. Minute by minute. Heat-wise it already feels like summer to little New England me. Chances are I’m going to bake and sweat and bake some more for the next few months. Not that I’m complaining. It just requires carrying more water.
And this is my bliss.
During my time in Agnes Water I had my last surf for the foreseeable future with a handful of neighborhood kids. I can’t stop smiling. From here on up it’s reef reef reef (and no surf beaches).
A few nights ago I dreamt that I was swimming with turtles in the most glorious blue waters — hopefully that dream can become a reality!
I love water.
I wonder if I’ll ever live in a place with a surfable beach. I would be out there almost everyday.
My sock tan game is on point.
Great Barrier Reef, here I come!