Yet another excerpt from my book. I hope you’ll continue on the journey with me. This passage is from early in my trip, while I’m still in Queensland.
It is almost beyond words to describe the beauty of the rainforest. It is harder still to express how that beauty affected me. My reaction was almost physical—an intense serenity, an elated peacefulness poured through me, like cool water in a dry land.
The forest is rejoicingly beautiful and incredibly green. As one descends, the trees close overhead, so even the sunlight filtering in seems green. Water trickles over moss-covered rocks, joins with other trickles, forms streams that end in waterfalls and great, deep pools that spill endlessly down the mountainside, disappearing and reemerging from the fabulous tangle of undergrowth. Fig trees with fantastic aerial root systems twist into weird, intricate shapes. Palms, mahogany trees, figs and gum trees stretch high overhead. Ferns attain amazing sizes. Trees drip with vines. We could hear the calls of wild birds and see an occasional flash of vivid color, but the only creature we saw clearly was a brush turkey building its nest.
Most of the trees grow straight and tall, trying to reach above the green canopy and into the sunshine. Some grow at precarious angles, wedged into gaps in the mountain’s side, clinging to boulders for support. Fallen trees have become gardens of moss, ferns and shelf-like, orange fungus, but even the living trees support mosses and ferns. Creeping vines carpet the forest floor in green. Climbing vines, some with thorns, twist up, over and around, hanging in festoons from tree to tree. Small, subtly colored flowers peek through the leaves of many bushes. The rich beauty of the place is almost overwhelming.
By the time we had descended to Cedar Creek Falls, we were breaking out of the rainforest and getting back into eucalypt forest. There, a great slash of bare, gray rock cuts through the trees, where Cedar Creek bursts through a broad cleft and falls to a series of deep pools connected by cascades and rapids.
Stained, stone walls rose up on the far side of the pools, but the slope on the side where we stood was like giant, uneven steps, broken and worn. We climbed down through the rocks for a better view, balancing along stone ledges paralleling the rushing water, hopping across boulders. There were people swimming in one of the lower pools, and boys diving from the cliffs into the deep water below.
“Idyllic” was the first word that came to mind, but it is not strong enough. This, to me, this whole day was far more wonderful than “rustic contentment.” It was a revelation. I wanted to stay, and my gaze clung to everything around me, trying to hold me there.