The street we stayed on in Myola kind of just dwindled out. It turned into a bushland track that wound through the banksia trees and dunes, onto a long, deserted stretch of white-sand beach looking across Jervis Bay.
The track over to the beach was spattered with tiny roadside orchids – infinitely delicate types, unique to Australia and totally incongruous among the harsh, sun-bleached coastal scrub. Each so tiny, but so different – purple, yellow, lilac, green, yellow-and-orange. Parrots crawled and crowed over the heavy banksia flowers, which, when you think about it, are the ultimate botanical counterpoint to orchids.
After another dreary Melbourne winter and an overcast weekend in Eden, Myola felt like the first place we touched spring. It was the first place we saw real sun, northern sun, since autumn. I felt silly, maybe even rude, lying on the grass in the backyard while everyone else played cards and talked and drank tea on the back verandah. But I had zero will to do anything else – this was the bone-thawing sun-warmth we wait for all winter (and most of spring, if I'm honest) in Melbourne. It turns out, this overwhelming compulsion to just sprawl on the ground in the sun continued throughout the entire trip – and my eyes watered the whole time because they never quite adjusted to the brightness.
We slept a hugely deep sleep, in a little blue-and white room that looked like the attic of a farmhouse, but the French doors led out to a porch looking over some mangrove wetlands, not paddocks or cattle. It was the sleep of holidays, childhood homes, or recovering health. The sleep of two nights drinking late in Eden. The sleep of escaping the city.
I scanned the holiday-house book shelf for seventies science fiction covers and other surprise gems. We ate roadside-stall eggs for breakfast, surprised again by the rich colour and flavour. I collected freesias, growing wild in the backyard, and pressed them in my sketchbook. We found Led Zeppelin glasses and a suede trench coat in the local op-shop. We listened to podcasts about the weirder side of Australian history (Rum, rebels and ratbags, for anyone interested). We just generally rolled into holiday mode and kept on rolling...