If you look up nostalgia in a thesaurus you find words like reminiscence, remembrance, wistfulness, among others.
Tewantin - Cooroy - Yandina - and then the nostalgia kicks in. Reminiscence floats up into consciousness and with it, memories of a distant past. We are heading toward Esk to stay overnight with my children's grandmother and auntie, and I want to stop at the Ginger Factory in Yandina because somewhere in my memory store I possess the knowledge that Ivy, my 90 year old ex-other-in-law absolutely loves ginger; crystalised, chocolate coated, marmalade, you name it, whatever I buy will put a smile on this remarkable woman's face.
Yandina - Woodford - Kilcoy - then we skirt around the Somerset Dam and arrive at Esk mid-afternoon. And there are the smiles, the 'you remembered'. Ivy welcomes us and makes us tea, then we walk around the property and 'Ivy's garden'. Always something we've had in common - as well as Jasmin, Carly, Jack and her son, who I shared a huge chunk of my life with, and much of it up here in Queensland. We talk about family and memories return with every moment : images, feelings, and thoughts of another time, another me - much younger and more willing to be shaped by the will of others.
I catch up on the lives of her other children and their families. We talk of the sorrow of the passing of some and come full circle back to the present day.
At 90, Ivy still takes the bus and train into Brisbane once a week to her art group (she paints) at the City Hall, and another day goes to Tai Chi and yet another day to Garden Club. Still sharp of mind while perhaps a little slower on her pins - she amazes everyone.
From Esk we head to Myocum near Byron Bay, where we will catch up with my brother, Lance, his wife Vatika, and their children, Subhuti and Meira.
I want to avoid Brisbane and the Gold Coast and show Michael the Numinbah Valley, a route that takes us over the border and into Murwillumbah. We travel through Jimboomba, Beaudesert, Canungra and Nerang and onto the Numinbah Road. We drive through beautiful farmland, wending out way down the valley, stopping off at Natural Bridge just before we hit the border.
These places loom large in my experience; from Mt Tamborine through to Byron Bay and hinterland - these were our destinations of choice - for picnics, weekends and holidays, or even just for a drive. The South East landscape, bush and rainforest - the volcanic presence of the hills of Northern New South - the smell, the heat, the humidity - all evoking emotions which segway into hopes and dreams lost, and longings cut short by the cold hard truth of things - bittersweet memories.
I find a large uncomfortable sensation settling in my throat which promises to spill out of the corner of my eyes. I swallow hard, breathe deeply and let it go, again. This happens each time I drive these country roads. And each time I think I let go a little more and learn to live with what remains. Some loss becomes part of us - marking us for life.
Unfortunately we have run out of picassa (photos) data storage on our blog account, and as we have also run out of funds we have decided that we won't be upgrading and posting any more pics until later. So for the rest of the images you guys will have to come around for dinner for some very inspiring (yawn) slide shows.