On a happier note …
Since I conceived Lulu three years ago, our lives have circled inward. For me, this has been a choice, informed by the emotional vulnerability of pregnancy and parenthood, and a state enforced through physical problems carrying Nell in particular, finances, time, feeding and sleep routines. We’ve been happy, on the whole, with our micro-focus. But lately, we’ve begun to look beyond our backyard.
This past weekend we took our first holiday unconnected to family obligations and support. We went here, Cradle Mountain, and it was glorious.
Lucy chugged about, being a train along the track, charming trail mix off other walkers (“Mmm, apricots. So delicious”), and making an argument for an attempt on the summit (“I can climb it, I will fly to the top like a fairy and play in the snow. I will do it by myself”). Nell bobbed along behind me, pulling my hair and spitting up her milk with abandon.
Things have changed in the past three years. Al and I are not outdoorsy but we have on occasion ventured into the wilderness. Back in the day, anything less than a five hour walk was a bit soft really, we spurned boardwalks and touristy circuits, and we always returned well under the estimated times. Hell, we’ve even camped in a tent and peed in the grass. But now, a Parks-designated one to two hour walk at a ‘relaxed pace’ takes us two and a half hours, most of which is heavy slog; anything uphill makes us grit our teeth and look for a rescue helicopter; and a gravel path can feel like rough terrain.
And camping? Well, that’s also in the past. We stayed in a cabin with a spa and easy access to cold beer (project eat clean was suspended for civilised post-prandial drinks) – the Tasmanian wilderness experience at its most inspiring.
As we walked along, I kept lifting my eyes to the mountain, which is a remarkable presence, towering over the track. But more often, my eyes would drift downward to the child in front of me, gambolling and bossing and make believing, and the one on my back, cooing and bouncing; even under the broadest of horizons, my focus is pulled to the tiny things at the centre.