Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hippy New Year

You could say this country is unforgiving, our forests are different because - as my friend so rightly put it - they are always straddling the line between life and death. The water is scarce and the sun is harsh and for the most part Australia is uninhabitable. But I like the dry bushy outback and the scorching heat waves of summer, where I chose to spend new years camping in a valley by a river surviving on live music and five dollar coconuts and the muddled hope that the end of 365 days brings.

The air was thick with dust and that unmistakeable stank of marijuana. The girls wore flowers in their hair, wreaths of daisies and roses amongst blonde braids and bronzed skin. The boys were bare-chested but with legs enclosed in the spandex prints of Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night or the milky way or some fairytale forest with the kind of evergreen trees that wouldn't survive in Australia.

One of my oldest friends and I painted each other in tribal dots of highlighter pink. There were rainbows on my feet and henna on her hands. We lay in a tent transformed into a moroccan style temple to escape the fire of the sun and then the goosebumps of the night. On beaded cushions and under lanterns there were guitars and hippies and lesbians who sang us into dreaming.

Wondering turned to wandering, and we were always in search of food, music, shade, something. We fell in love with local bands who we would spot later on the grass, barely recognisable leaning against a tree or pushing through crowds.

My favourites had slide guitars and harmonicas and were as crazy about their music as much as each other. We saw a one armed stripper and a midnight nudist party. We were seduced by the coldness of the river, however brown and questionable. We sat in on the workshops on tai chi and laughter yoga and juggling. We took cold showers in the afternoon and napped in the shade cooled by that merciful breeze. And when the sun slept behind the mountains we thrashed, stomped, body rolled, fist pumped, head-banged, danced until the last song played.

And I just kept thinking, this is it. Those moments you run into the way you smash into a glass door leaving you dizzy and bewildered with a bruised forehead and a bleeding knee. Evidence that you didn't see what was coming, and what was coming made you halt completely.

Maybe it was the heat, or the new year, or that dumb euphoria from standing too close to speakers for too long but I was high on life and in love with my own youth. Hence my former post and sort-of-poem, We Are Alive, We are Young. 

Nobody hopes as hopefully as the young. Our lives run on possibility, and I've found that's an infinite resource when you're twenty two. So this year I hoped my way into January, wishing for all the best things and grateful that I spent it hugging people I'd just met in the mosh pit new friends while John Butler made us count down the new year a minute early so he could play the next song and get us to scream loudly with cupped hands and also just because he's John Butler and he can.

So I lived out the beginnings of my wildest hippy dreams, with dirt under my fingernails and my hands in the air. Here's to 2013.

May your tank of possibility never run out.
May your life always be fuelled with the deepest desire to be.
No, not to be ____ , but simply to be. 

Peace and love baby, peace and love.

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