[19] The Journey

Tough Journeys can lead to Miracles.

Never give up.

Today I’ve seen one of the most beautiful things of my life, and as all small miracles, the journey towards it wasn’t easy at all. But it was worth it for sure. This article is an homage to three of my family members who I lost over the last month, but who I loved deeply.

In the past month I lost three close family members. No explanation, no introduction, one day, they weren’t there anymore. They left as sudden as they came alive, taking away the obviousness of their very existence.

I loved them deeply, and they do leave an emptiness behind, which sometimes all at a sudden provokes a painful vacuum, a hurting wound which still has to cure. But as with everything, this loss too will heal over time, not linear, but with waves.

This loss too will heal over time, not linear, but with waves.

Some days, out of the blue a sudden burst of grief overwhelms me and provokes tears and sadness in the middle of nowhere. I might be walking, watching or listening something, or just on the road, when suddenly I notice the sudden gap, in which grief settles in.

But precisely where the grief roots, sprouts gratitude and love for all the beautiful moments we’ve been through, as well as for all the beauty they spread on my pathway.

Therefore, I know, they might be physically gone, but they will be eternally part of my fellowship, accompanying me wherever I go; with old wisdom and thrust, or regained faith and signs, such as the one today.

The Big Drift

I’m in the Prom National Park in Victoria. The last days it has been cold and grey, with ice cold rain and wind coming in from the Antarctic. I’m not used to the cold, nor can I deal with it appropriately, however it doesn’t stop me from achieving my goal. I continue my journey.

I wake up around 5 am, determined to catch the sunrise at the Big Drift, which are huge sand dunes at the entrance of the Prom National Park.

I drive carefully out of Foster towards the park, not to disturb any wombat, wallaby or koala in the early hours of my day, and the late ones of their night.

At down I start to walk, first through the fields, later through the sand forests. I’m alone out there, except for the animals that are hiding in the bush, waking up or going to sleep, foraging, or resting.

Uninvited Guests

I walk bravely past the fields, until I notice too many foot prints in the sand in front of me. The pathway is marked by fresh foot prints, not from yesterday night or a few hours ago, but maybe a couple of minutes ago. The rain hasn’t touched them yet, and the sand is still loosely spread over the path.

Whatever kind of animal it was, it was definitely not alone. And it had run fast. Its prints are deeply imprinted in the soil, the speed and pressure representing. Were they haunted by another animal, or were they haunting something?

My first thoughts go to dingos. However, these are no foot prints of dingoes; nor wallabies, nor kangaroos or any kind of bird. Analysing the traces there are two options: a herd of goats – which wouldn’t be too bad – or of wild pigs – which is worrying at least to say.

To Be Continued

I think for a second if I should return. But I decide to continue the path and prepare some survival plans in case of I might pass them later on.

The path is longer than I thought, and for a second, I’m in doubt if I am actually heading towards the Big Drift, because there are no sand dunes to see at all. Moreover, the rain is coming up again, and I’m worried to get stuck in the bush – by weather or by animals.

Nonetheless, I continue the path, with my eyes and ears open for potential danger. My mind on alert, my body one step before the fight-or-flight mode.

The Magic Entrance

Finally, I see the big dune in front of me. And big it is. A steep yellowish sand wall of a couple of metres rises up in front of me. Climbing it is more like a 50cm up, 40cm back down, but I manage to get up there. Up the Big Drift.

They told to mark your entrance, because it is easy to get lost on the big dune, and sure it is. So I draw a big arrow in the sand precisely where I came up: exit. And further on, I make another one.

After my careful marking of the entrance, I finally take the time to watch around me and absorb my surroundings. This must be heaven, I think! Surprisingly enough, in the middle of the forest, there is indeed a gigantic pile of sand, a dune, the Big Drift.

Black and Gold

On top of the dune are but a few trees, seemingly lost, the last man standing. The grey-yellowish sand contrasts severely with the almost black sky in the background. The rain isn’t over yet.

However, I feel a source of heath on my back, which gives the Big Drift an orange-golden glow. The sun is arising and spreads its array over the infinite surface, the other dimension on earth, the plateau above the bushland.

There is it, where the magic happens: at the crossing of the golden sunrays at one side of the dune and the black rainy sky at the other side of it, a marvellous miracle arises.

Out of a seemingly golden opening in the black sky at the right side, arises an astonishing bright rainbow, which goes all the way round, in a perfect circular shape, to the other side of the dune, where it colours the green trees in the background in all colours of … the rainbow.

Gifted Gratitude

As an enlightening arch through the black sky, it looks like the gate to heaven itself. I look up, and tears of joy and gratitude fill my eyes. ‘Thank you’, I stumble. ‘thank you’ for this gift and reward after the rough path, and even more so after the tough month.

I look up to the rainbow, up to the sky, and know that they are behind it, those three lost souls that found each other again up there at the other side. Even though they left us, and left so much pain and sadness, they gave the most beautiful gift I’ve seen since. As if they encourage me to continue the journey, despite the obstacles; and to keep on going, no matter how tough the going gets.

Here they are, bringing me one of the most beautiful gifts of nature I’ve seen in my entire life, in the 50+ countries I’ve travelled, and the 30+ years I’ve lived.

I dance of joy and gratitude, and know now, this isn’t the end, but the next level; the next chapter of the journey, the next formation of the fellowship.

The toughest journeys do lead to the most beautiful destinations, and they are most often the gateway to another journey. The next level. The new fellowship. Thank you for having been part of my life, thank you for being part of my journey; thank you for showing me the light in dark times; the beauty in the roughness.

The Rainbow on top of the Big Drift in the Prom National Park