All in the name of ‘research’, a friend and I decided to reincarnate a Thelma and Louise style trip to the tip of North West Tasmania. Two women with six kids between us, desperate for a few days off, floral pillowcases from the Campbeltown op shop tied around our hair, we drove the entire day North, then West, to reach our little ‘hut’ in a green farmers paddock. That paddock, where bulls greeted us in the morning from a couple of metres outside the front door (behind a fence), sat on the edge of Tasmania, where the next landmass is Argentina. The beach stretched long and wild, a light rain had turned the beach into a mirror, and fresh water springs bubbled up in circles through the sand.
This was to be the site of my next story, and I was very grateful for it. The land made my fingers itch to write, and the people living there filled my story with meaning.
We drove back home through the Tarkine, and found places like ‘Worlds End’, where a tannin rich wild river gets pounded in its meeting with the ocean. Enormous tree trunks laced with bull kelp pile high as witnesses to the carnage that results.
Red myrtle forests had our heads craned back as far as we could, then in turn we were mesmerised by the tiny water encrusted lichen and ferns that caressed the trunks.
I needed to be reminded that places like this exist. Also, that they are ancient, and people have lived in them gently for thousands of years. I only hope that we can cherish well enough what is left, and amidst human greed for timber, minerals and more 4WD tracks, protect it with the dignity it deserves.