006. Waking to a new world and a new life

Next morning I sat myself down on the seat in front of the flats. The mountain air was crisp and damp. I felt numbed by the thought that this morning I had woken to another world, a new life, a different me. The world was still the same. Only I had changed.

Shrouded in mist the narrow main street descended from the higher ground at Daylesford, twin town of Hepburn Springs, down to the valley of Spring Creek and the park.

I was unable to see the end of the road in either direction for the mist. Only the occasional car whooshed by since the road really didn’t go anywhere in particular except to the bottom of the hill. It was another metaphor for my life. Suddenly I was going nowhere in particular – except downhill.

Today I had nothing to do and nowhere to go. I had nowhere to call home and I was alone. Except for the precious $500 (about $US 375) in my pocket I was flat broke.

To my right I could just make out the shape of the Old Macaroni Factory, built by the Swiss-Italian immigrants during the Gold Rush days and, opposite that, the Savoia Hotel. To my left a few doors away were the general store and the post office.

Opposite, a derelict dance hall built in the thirties with its soda fountain still intact, Tom’s Pottery Gallery, the Health Well Bookshop, the Cosy Corner Café and, at the end, the Springs Hotel with its Spanish Mission façade, standing sentinel over the valley like an exotic jungle outpost in a Tarzan movie.

Below was the Springs Park (photo) where I came to spend much of my time in the empty weeks ahead, a place where I could become a part of nature and ponder my predicament.

Across the road from my flat a track led down the side of the hill, across the footbridge spanning the deep valley of Spring Creek and then to the park. Here old oaks, elms and golden ash mingled with tall eucalypts on well-kept green lawns in the valley. Carpets of coloured leaves mirrored my moods.

The sadness of autumn spoke to me of the natural process of death and rebirth. I seemed to belong here.

"You have come here to find what you already have." [Buddhist aphorism]

Today Neil Smith is an author and blogger working from home in a quiet fishing village across the bay from Melbourne, Australia. He has authored 3 non-fiction books including 'The Mystery of Granny's Ghost'. Visit his book website at neilwjsmith.com and his 'Work From Home' blog at neilwjsmith.info.
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