Chapter Twenty - From Lodge to Library
It’s amazing how a turn of negative events, like the fire and being homeless, can transform into good fortune.
Straight after the fire, I seriously considered moving home to Sydney. For me, the concept of “home” seemed to no longer exist in Alice, a small town that I have come to love so much.
My little blue caravan had become unliveable with a broken air conditioner and hideous smells of burnt electricity. Not to mention, there was no fire alarm in the caravan, which I now know is actually illegal. But, that’s a whole other story..
I have always considered myself to be lucky.
On this occasion fate intervened in the form of my dear friend Cecilia. I have known Cecilia since I arrived in Alice. A mutual friend from Sydney introduced us and we have been friends ever since.
I sent out text messages to everyone I knew in Alice, letting them know my situation and the need for immediate housing. Thankfully, Cecilia came to the rescue.
Cecilia owns a large property in the warehouse area of Alice Springs. If I am to compare it to any area in Sydney, it’s probably the Chippendale of Alice Springs, with cool cafés and lots of indigenous art galleries.
On Cecilia’s property, there are two yoga studios, three caravans and an external home library. Cecilia’s house sits at the back of the property surrounded by a communal garden.
I now find myself living in Cecilia’s library. I’m surrounded by books, old scripts on hand-made paper, ancient Encyclopaedia Britannica’s and Helen Garner’s original type writer that she wrote her first novel on.
Again, I have created a little haven for myself in the Outback.
From new beginnings, good things grow.
I’m looking forward to my next chapter of my time in Alice.
I met pastor Terry at the local swimming pool in Alice Springs.
As I sat drinking my coffee at the outdoor café after my swim, I watched him interact with young indigenous children.
I could hear him speaking Pitjantjatjara, a rare occurrence when spoken by a white person.
I sat watching and observing. The kids ran up to him gleefully, speaking, laughing and enjoying the sunny desert weather. As the children vanished and played in the outdoor water feature, I said “hello” to the pastor. He was friendly and open.
We spoke about his life, telling me he was married to an Arrernte woman for more than 30 years. His wife died two year ago and I can see he was carrying a broken heart.
He invited me to his outdoor church which is at the foot of the East MacDonnell ranges at the Old Timers Aged Care Centre in Alice Springs.
I went and it was spectacular.
It was one of the most beautiful indigenous experiences I have ever been involved in.
Although, I didn’t understand most of it, I loved being part of it.
As the sun set over the ranges and all these oldies sang in their native tongue, I realised how lucky I was to be invited to such an inspiring service.
I’ve realised that the two things that make me most happy are being creative and going on adventures.
On my days off, I adventure with my friends to nearby waterholes and relax in the chilled water of the West MacDonnell Ranges.
On this particular day, Madi called me up and asked if I wanted to go to Ellery Big Hole. I was working on a deadline, but I managed to finish it just in time and allowed myself to go for a sunset swim.
I packed dips and crackers for us to munch on after our swim and off we set in Madi’s new convertible Jeep. When we arrived, we dived into the water, climbed up rocks like children and lay with our bodies facing the sky, doing aquatic snow angels. It was heavenly.
After the sun set, with the wind in our hair, we set off back home.