Travel Stories

Cuming - Australia Diversion

    I leave Jakarta as fast and far behind as I can, flying to Perth in Western Australia, where I spend the night at a real hotel, eat in a real restaurant, drink water from the tap, talk easily with folks who speak almost comprehensible English, and catch an early bus the next day for the six hour ride to Mount Barker, in the Porongurups, and a short but important rendezvous with Joy, her son Loren, and Joy’s brother Clyde who have spent the prior week together at the family retreat working and reworking a huge deck and porch they have designed to expand two full sides of the house they built with Joy and Clyde’s father before he died in a horrible car crash on these very roads just days before Loren was born in 1986. 
    I am wearing my US Boat to Gaza T-shirt under an open throated button shirt as I get to the bus station in Perth such that only the last three letters of the word “Boat” show, and when I look in the mirror at the station what I see resting above my heart is the word “tao,” the path, and I feel reinforced by this guidance, that I am on the great path, as it must be, and as we each and all are, the great Dharma unfolding and revealed with every footfall.
    The time in Australia feels like a transitional interlude on the symphonic pathway of this particular voyage.  It is a long hike for just a few days to a place I have been before, but the meaning of my presence to Joy and her kin far exceed the “travel value” of my time there, visiting the resting places of Joy’s parent’s ashes and the home she physically built with her family, particularly her father, to share in and experience the energy that adheres to Cuming clan sacred ground, as I did in Scotland, and to be present for and with Joy on her 58th birthday celebration in Perth amongst friends from her life when Joy was fourteen and her family moved here through the early years of Loren’s life as an infant and child before the Cape called them back to the U.S.  I marvel at Joy’s, Clyde’s, and Loren’s energy, skill, and devotion, as they work (exceedingly hard) together.  I serve as camp cook and dishwasher, a role I relish before we return to Perth to stay with Sarah and Bruce Campbell who share their home and interests with great grace, to a party for Joy hosted by Clyde, Sue, and their gifted son Darby, and to all too brief a time with Dawn Meader who guides us to Bali – visit her website – where less than 72 hours after leaving Jakarta – most of that time seated in planes, buses, and automobiles – Joy and I arrive amidst the mountains, rice terraces, and lovely souls of Sideman.