Describe an experience that you have had in the bush where you have felt that there is more than simply material reality around you.
For this week’s blog topic surrounding the theme of Patrick White’s novel, The Tree of Man, I have decided to share a story of my experience travelling overseas in February of this year.
The Island of Lifou is a beautiful Island in New Caledonia that is surround by the bluest water imaginable:
During my trip there, my younger sister and I had the amazing opportunity of going cave diving! The travel to the cave was at least a 15-minute bush walk through the longest grass I’ve seen and the most amazing lookouts, as well. During our bush walk, we came across this huge piece of rock that ended with a 100-meter drop to the water (and of course we dangerously climbed right to the edge):
When we arrived at the cave entry, we saw before us a very detailed jungle. We started the journey on ground level and walked directly down for 20 minutes. Throughout this hike, we began to see that the jungle itself was a massive hole in the ground that had been beautifully overwhelmed with nature. The rock walls were green with vines and there were many trees that had sprung from earth’s ground that were entangled with one another, forming one massive web of greenery. By the end of this, we were underground and had to crawl in between gigantic rocks to finally reach the cave:
We were finally at the cave with pitch black water and no sunlight to guide our way. The jump from the rock to the water was about 2 meters and the local people of the Island were unaware of how deep the cave was:
In this photo you can see the rock from which we jumped off. The rest of the photo (that seems to just be black) is the water we jumped into.
The water was freezing, yet so refreshing. After the swim, we pulled our body weight up by a rope that was tied against a huge rock to get ourself back to the surface.
The whole experience was one I have not stopped thinking about since it happened and I have already started making plans to go back. What stayed with me long after the holiday was the natural aspect of the entire experience. The local people that lived on the Island were some of the sweetest souls I have met. The Island itself, was full of beautiful flowers, tress, water and dogs everywhere! There were a whole bunch of dogs on the Island that were not particular anyone’s pet, they simply belonged to the Island and everyone there. The local’s relied entirely on the Island for their food, shelter, clothing, schooling and wellbeing and in the short time that I was there, I experienced their daily schedule. They had a beautifully old fashioned Church, a grave yard and little shops that were filled with all sorts of little items that the visitors could buy. They had built their own houses and formed their own school, and my favourite part about their lifestyle was that everyone there was a family. Everyone looked out for one another and treated one another as their brother or sister.
This experience helped me to realise that everything one’s soul searches for in life (intimacy, connection, sense of belonging) can truly be found within the people we surround ourselves with. The Island of Lifou and its people truly embark this simplicity of life and embody what it means that having less is to have more.
Some more photos of the beautiful Island