After a week in Melbourne, I'm starting to get the hang of it. At first I felt battered by the violent contrast between Cape Tribulation (pop. 85 people deep in the tropical rainforest) and Melbourne (pop. 4 million people crowding in a chilly drought). The culture shock and climate shock were overwhelming and exhausting for a few days. But (thanks in no small part to the endless patience of Rayna and Louise) I'm no longer in a constant panic of disorientation or hayfevered from sensory overload.
Renaissance Bookbinding, where Nick Doslor's Vandercook press is buried under mountains of books awaiting bindings.
I'm coping by thinking of the city as a system the way that the rainforest is a system. There is chaos and mystery in both environments, just as there is also an internal logic governing each element within the environment and its relationship to the other elements. In both environments there are fascinating, delightful, beautiful and awe inspiring things that bring me joy: but I find I am laughing out loud more in the city. In both environments there are dismaying, disgusting, scarey, tiresome things that challenge me: but the city's disappointments are familiar rather than novel.
Right now I'm looking back on my seven months in the Daintree as the culmination of a seven year cycle of desiring introspection and solitude. Spending this summer in Melbourne hints that the next seven year cycle of my life may be more outwardly focused, active and social.