Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

Day 3 – Half the Fun

It’s so easy to lose track of what you’re doing and why. Having an endpoint makes it seem like that is the goal. With a rain hood on you aren’t seeing the periphery. With uneven ground your gaze is always down on the next step. But when what you are doing is solely about the journey, slipping into city-life Type-A mentality is antithetical to achieving anything you’ve set out to do. And so I’ve had to repeatedly remind myself to pause, look around, appreciate, and laugh. Nature is not being vindictive. It just is doing its own thing. That may be rain or hail or snow, not helping me. But at the start of day 2 I looked up and paused. Across the alpine moorland before me was a mountain, covered in trees. Verdant shrubs and ferns spread in the foreground. The rain fell in visible sheets on the gum trees. The panorama was straight out of a movie. It was glorious. Later in the day a field of color opened ahead. The plant was the same type, a bush I didn’t recognize. At the end of branches stood the flower, a spire of dense oblong buds. It looked like morning glories (I think that’s the one). But each bush flowered a different color, like leaves turning at the end of a deciduous season. Cream, yellow, orange, pink, red. The colors were brilliant even under the clouds. Day 3 took me through rainforest. The trees were saturated. They looked to be rotting as they grew. Lichens took hold. Tiny ferns grew from tree bark. Mosses clumped around knots in the trees. While the trees were plentiful and impressive enough, it was the micro-world that jumped out. The detail, the fine edges, the delicate construction of these small plants clinging to life in harsh conditions. They were an artwork unto themselves just in the name of survival. A giant overlook took in a valley, gum tree tops, steam from an evaporating morning frost, all hemmed in by mountains. A waterfall streamed off the mountainside to my right and under my feet, across the path to a small tea-colored (tannin stained) pool before pouring on down the mountain. Rotting boards do their best to keep my feet out of the mud but fail routinely. A safari plain spreads out before me, hard plants grown in harsh conditions refusing to give into nature’s wrath. A winding boardwalk disappears behind scrub and a white rocky path winds up the green hillside in the distance. Water droplets cling to the points of red leaves starbursting out in a seemingly organized pattern that upon closer inspection seems to have no geometrical logic running down the stem. These are the snapshots I am left with after 3 days of hiking the OT through the rain. These are the points I’ve stopped to appreciate. This is 14 hours of hiking with 50 pounds on my back. This is the glory that I almost missed, that so many of my travelling companions already have missed. Getting there is half the fun. Most times that seems trite. Here that doesn’t sound like enough.

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This entry was posted on January 18, 2012 by in Australia, Overland Track, Tasmania (Hobart) and tagged .

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