I'm not going to reveal where I'm at just yet, but let me describe it for you. I'm sitting on a wooden table on the back veranda just outside of my cabin, overlooking a stretch of tropical rainforest that leads down a steep hill to the ocean. I can hear the roaring of the waves crashing into the shore. Every now and then a cool breeze comes through, making my skin feel alive. The weather is mild but chilly - after all it's the dead of "winter" here in tropical North Queensland. Birds call to one another in the morning light, close, and then far, and then close again. Rustling sounds on the forest floor just below me indicate the presence of forest life - maybe bandicoots (rabbit-sized kangaroo relatives) or maybe brush turkeys or scrub fowl. I've yet to see a cassowary but that's why I'm here. The sun rises and the sky is now a pale periwinkle blue with a single long skinny cloud stretched over the horizon, the underside of which is golden yellow from the rising sun.
The emerald green of the rainforest surrounds me, becoming ever more verdant as the sun rises higher and illuminates the trees and brush. Figs, ferns, vines, lianas... so much green climbing, crawling, stretching for light. A bird song pierces the air.
As I sip my coffee, I am smiling in every part of my body and soul. I've got a perma-grin on my face I can't erase. I am grateful to God for the incredible world He created. What a paradise. I am grateful for my life, my breath, for my day, for being here in this incredible place. I'm grateful for being in a career that allows me to hop on a jetplane and travel halfway across the planet to exotic gorgeous destinations and immerse myself in the experience, see wildlife, and experience both solitude and the ability to meet new people.
And now, the sun! A melon orange pink orb glows like fire behind the cloud that has now splintered into a dozen smaller clouds. Its color and light radiate out from its center like rays. Rays of light. I am taking photos of the sunrise. Every moment it becomes different, more beautiful, more light, more brilliant!
In about a half hour, at 730am, I'm headed out to meet a local naturalist who will take me to where cassowary papas hang out with their chicks (that would be "baby chicks" not "female chicks"!) The chicks are brown and yellow striped and about the size of a chicken, only with long legs and no wings. Then if I get back in time, I will go to a yoga class, and then there's more but I'll just wait until tomorrow to fill in the details. I may try to get a massage. This place in amazing. I'm in love!
Update - I wrote that this morning, and am typing it up on the common computer (no wireless here!). I saw three cassowaries today, and two were right in front of me, I could almost reach out and touch one! Very cool.