You look back to the life you lived yesterday, the bustling city a powerhouse of media and retail. The year passed you by and it’s time to escape. You drove for hours passing forests and farms, with the occasional mountain in between, through towns and cities, you witnessed their stale continuous lives. Finally, you turned off and civilization left you with it went the sealed roads and the noise of gravel greeted you. You made your way through the switchbacks to the valley floor. With every meter you descended, another stress of the modern life slipped away.
You step out as the sun beats down on you; the soundtrack of the river playing in the background, the sound of the rocks resisting the flow of nature, the sound of ancient rock being reduced to dust. The smell of burnt steak fills the air, as the sun sets in paradise.
The sour hot chocolate heats you from the inside out; turning your breath into a cloud. You hop on the back of a quad bike in your togs and get chauffeured to the domain. A choir of birds sings for you as the bike rips down the dirt track. A bed of stones meet the pitch black water, you already know just looking at the water how cold it is but the temptation to jump off the overhanging tree draws you in. At first, the water makes your hairs stand on end but you slowly adjust. It’s known this river is infested with eels, but the prospect of a pinch doesn’t deter you. You make your way to the rock wall. A tombstone protruding from the lake; climbing the engravings made by the men before you, you look off the edge and take one last breath before jumping. As you make contact with the water the pitch black tone engulfs your body, leaving nothing but ripples.
Death kills the mood. The thriving man you once knew, the family man who created this place which tourists now relished is dying. Not the way the deer on the clothesline died or the headless chicken you found the day before. This death kills slowly and has no cure just like time. The father of your friends, your fathers best friend has no control over his fate all he knows is that he’s dying like the cow in the fence or the possum on the road. As the damaged cells replicate in his body you see his personality fade, the fight for life takes up all of his strength. but it’s not enough.
As you leave this place of life, beauty, and wonder you can’t help but recognise the stench of death in the air and the mood of sadness that complements it. Bag by bag the car fills up, each a memory taken home to last another year. By the look on your parent’s face, you can tell that you’re not coming back next year; or any year. But the river will keep flowing and the birds will keep singing for the years to come.