When I was a little girl, holidays at the shack meant spending a lot of time looking. Looking into the fire. Looking for blackberries. Looking for little sucky things in rock pools, those ones that you can stick your finger in and they velcro to your skin, you know? Looking for a comic that I hadn’t read. Looking in the book on them mantelpiece that had all the pictures of different fish species in it. Looking to make sure you didn’t step in sheep poo in the back paddock. Looking to see if the neighbours were watching as you nicked passionfruit from their lovely, lush vine.
My favourite kind of looking, though, was looking out across the water. Our shack sat on a little hill, overlooking a lovely bay at Tinderbox. You could look out towards Snug, where the boat sheds looked like tiny teeth on the waters’ edge. Or you could look out toward Bruny Island’s faraway beaches, green hills rolling down to the shore. You could even look between the two, out to where the sky and the distant hills intersected, your view slightly obscured by the huge gum trees that clung to the cliff top across the road.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit peaky and I’ve found myself longing for a view. Maybe not this childhood view specifically, but a view nonetheless. I guess as kids we give ourselves a bit more time and space to look at things, don’t we?
I said to Cam a couple of days ago, ‘I just want to sit somewhere and look out to something big and beautiful. For a few days. Just something lovely. Just nature. Just some sky or trees or sea…’ You know?
I wrote a little about that in yesterday’s post too. It’s on my mind.
Maybe it’s a post-Ubud thing or maybe it’s part of working from home in the inner-city and viewing mostly buildings and traffic and things. Probably a bit of both.
Awesomely, I was looking through some of the work my great-grandfather had published earlier today and the VERY FIRST PIECE I stumbled across was this…
Immensity is magnificent medicine. That is one reason—if we may let the cat out of the bag—why the doctors send us to the seaside. We forget the tiddley-winking in the contemplation of the tremendous. We lose life’s shallow worries in the vision of unplumbed depths.
Those who have read Mrs. Barclays Rosary will remember that, in the crisis of her life, the heroine, the Hon. Jane Champion, determined to consult her physician, Sir Deryck Brand. And, after having realized the fearful strain to which his poor patient’s nerves had been subjected, he exclaimed: ‘Here is a prescription for you! See a few big things!’ He urged her to go out west, and see the stupendous Falls of Niagara, to go out east and see the Great Pyramid. ‘Go for the big things,’ he said; ‘you will like to remember, when you are bothering about pouring water in and out of tea-cups, “Niagara is flowing still!”‘
…The tendency of life is to drift among small things—small anxieties, small pleasures, small ideas, and small talk. He is a very wise physician indeed who can prescribe for us a tonic of big things.*
Isn’t it weird how the things we find can be just SO RIGHT for where we are right now? Like, super apt? I love it. It’s one of those ace and inexplicable things that lets us know that we don’t really know how everything works, no matter how smart we think we are!
How do you feel about a big view? As lovely as the little things are, sometimes a big things is all that will do…
* I’d actually NEVER read anything he’d written until this weekend! I think we have a similar writing style, which is so WEIRD and awesome!