A Crack to Let the Light In

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Apologies to Leonard Cohen for rephrasing his lyric: ‘There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.’ He made poetry of the idea that nothing truly beautiful is ever perfect; within the flaw lies a source of human inspiration and I would add, insight.

I look around me and find this is true. The philosophers among you might ask ‘what is perfection but a way of seeing, a subjective perception of how something ‘should’ be? For me, the idea of perfection  resides somewhere in no-man’s land between perfect and imperfect. Without flaws how can we appreciate flawlessness? Without a crack how can the light get it?

Over this Easter weekend I spent time with my daughter on the Coral Coast (mid north eastern coast of Australia). It’s a favourite destination for back-packers, boating, sailing and fishing enthusiasts, and those wanting to visit the Whitsunday Islands and lower reaches of the Great Barrier Reef. Over the years, we’ve visited many times: sailed, snorkelled, fished, hiked and appreciated everything this part of Australia has to offer. The natural beauty never fails to take my breath away.

 

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Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach

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Cape Gloucester Coral Coast

 

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Airlie Beach, Coral Coast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These days, my focus has turned to the wonders the hinterland offers. I love the ancient grandeur of the rainforests, the diversity of plant life and the rampant growth the climate promotes.

The view from the mountains makes you feel like you’re soaring. And in fact people do. There’s a purpose built platform for hang-gliders to launch from the edge of an escarpment at Eungella in the Clark ranges. Oh how I wish I was brave enough to try it. There are wood carvings of wizards and mythical creatures nearby that add to the feeling of magical possibilities.

 

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The hang-glider launching platform from the Eungella escarpment overlooking the Pioneer Valley

 

But it’s being in the rainforest, the longest contiguous strip of remaining sub-tropical rainforest in Australia, that sends me into raptures.

Firstly there’s the ethereal light. It spills through endless shades of green, to dapple the forest floor. It’s like being in some wonderful cathedral – only grander. Then, there are the sounds, clear piping notes of various rainforest birds, the lower muted tones of others, the rustle of wind moving through the canopy, the buzz of insects, and babbling water never far away.  I even like the smell of damp rotting vegetation,  and the astringent notes of some native plants, and then, a sweeter scent – native orchids perhaps?

When I returned home I looked at my garden – and my life – with new eyes, with a deeper appreciation, as if a light had shone through some metaphorical crack.

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Finch Hatton Gorge

 

Sometimes it takes something to be cracked to let the light through.

On the last day of our holiday we had a serious car collision. Both cars involved were destroyed, written off by the insurance companies.

Yet no-one was hurt.

Emergency workers and others who stopped to assist were amazed by this. I still struggle to make sense of it. A few seconds earlier, or later, the outcome may have been very different.

 

 

 

 

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36 responses to “A Crack to Let the Light In

    • Thank you! After the shock I was so grateful. Now as I reflect, I wonder why. Why did we survive when others haven’t? I know. It’s enough to be able to truly appreciate and be reminded of how fragile we are.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes! Life is so fragile, yet it’s not often we apply that knowledge to ourselves.
        But your Easter break, especially the rainforest, sounds wonderful.
        As often happens, your post sent my mind spinning off in all directions. First, the concept of flawed beauty. And I remembered the phrase “There is no beauty that hath not…??” What? A flaw? An imperfection?

        A spot of googling, and I came up with “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion.” (Sir Francis Bacon.) He was a man most fond of gardens, and it occurred to me you might like his short essay. He was envisaging a much larger garden than yours, but I like his emphasis on seasonal scents and colours. https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/bacon/francis/b12e/essay46.html

        Liked by 1 person

      • Denise you are a gem! I did know of Bacon’s delight in gardens but not of this particular essay so thanks for sending the link. His quote does seem to share Cohen’s sentiment too, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ‘Then the strawberry-leaves dying, which yield a most excellent cordial smell.’ I have been outside to crush mine – sadly, they disappoint. Perhaps it’s been bred out of the modern varieties. The essay shows his fine understanding and love of gardening. Thanks again for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Your description of the rainforest is especially evocative – beautiful, robust, yet fragile, as we all are. It’s good to know that only the cars were damaged in your accident. With best wishes, Judith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was disappointing about your strawberry leaves – Sir F. was probably talking about the sort we call wild strawberries. I was disappointed to see that he disapproved of ponds because they encourage frogs! I would love a pond with frogs in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad to hear that no one was hurt in the car accident, as distracted driving increases so does my anxiety whenever I’m in a vehicle. your photos are stunning and some of the landscapes look like paintings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Always enjoy your thought provoking blogs Robyn. Always love your writing and stunning photos. However, this one is special! Life is fragile. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Rozzie. I value your feedback and you’re right on the mark. Life is fragile. An upside of this event is how it reminds me to make the most of everyday.

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    • That rainforest glow was enhanced for me by the near miss Gail. There has been much reflection as I know you will understand. The sense of, or understanding of why some things happen often doesn’t become apparent immediately does it? If at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love that Cohen verse. The Canadian writer Louise Penny uses this theme throughout her books and it resonates with me. I would love to talk about your post but all that I can think of right now is that I’m so glad you’re all right. Take care, Robyn. Your friend, Clare

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind thoughts Clare. I have always loved that sentiment too. Funny, when I looked up Cohen’s phrase (see the link) I was surprised by the meaning attributed since I had a different slant altogether.
      I will look up Louise Penny. I don’t think I’ve read anything she’s written. I’m very grateful for your friendship.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robyn, I think you’ll like her writing. My favorite character is Ruth (the poet). She’s old and gritty. If you choose to read the series, definitely start with the first book, Still Life. (One of her later books is entitled How the Light Gets In .) I’m very grateful for your friendship and even more grateful that you’re okay. Clare

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will do as you suggest. Maybe my library has it. Old and gritty? Likes poetry? I like Ruth already. 😄
        I thinks it’s very special to find a kindred spirit in you too Clare.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Everything hangs by a thread, and occasionally this is made very clear. So Carpe Diem. I’m glad you’re ok – and the boys, even if it was their fault. And thank you for the virtual trip, which I much enjoyed, since I’ve never visited that part of the world. It stirred up wanderlust!

    Liked by 1 person

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