Before I say a fond and very heartfelt farewell to Tasmania I have to get something off my chest so forgive me if this is full of passion.
You all know by now that I am not religious. I like to think of myself as spiritual, I will happily take note of other peoples religions and customs and generally try not to offend people when I do so. For a moment forget all of that and imagine that I walked into your church, temple, synagogue, other place of worship and right in front of the congregation desecrated the place without caring. Just imagine that, have you got that pictured in your head? Do you as a religious/non religious person then feel it is your duty to remind me that I am in a place of worship and I should be aware of what I do? Good, stay with that thought, let it make you a little angry because no matter what you say I won’t or can’t undo what I have done, stay with that rage imagine it as a ball of hate directed at me (the offender) because I have no idea just how much damage I have done. This is how I felt today.
Allow me to shed light on this as you may be wondering what can make me so angry? Well despite not being religious I have been to one of my places of worship today. Today was spent outside in the hills of Tasmania walking round the valley which is looked over by Cradle Mountain around one the most beautiful and diverse parts of nature I have ever seen around Dove Lake. Today is also my last full day of exploring this place so I was a little disturbed but glad I could go and see Cradle Mountain before I left. We arrived near the main park and took ten minutes in one of the shacks nearby for a bit of a lesson on Tasmanian geology. As interesting as Tasmanian geology is I wanted to be outside and stare at the horizon, drink in the mountainside so to speak, stare at it and try to absorb something from it. I was accompanied by two black crows who looked on as I stood very still breathing the air in deep and shutting out any noise I could. This was my church, this at that point in time was my place of worship, I was awestruck by the creation that Mother Nature had put before me and the two crows added a little something as they watched me and I watched them. Then from behind me my concentration was broken by two Chinese girls who were on the same trip as me. Ignore them I thought, just be, block them out, but I couldn’t. They were both wearing poncho’s that they had bought from the trip organisers because both had not come prepared for the changeable nature of Tasmanian weather, fair enough right? Well yes it would of been until they started to squeal a little in my ears behind me, the crows fled and I turned around to see them pulling at one of the poncho ripping it. I had no idea what they were doing and once again turned to the landscape to try and block it out, I concentrated as hard as I could trying to find my inner peace in the hills somewhere but the chattering continued behind me. Then it happened….
Out of the corner of my eye I saw that they had ripped a piece of poncho off for some reason and holding it at arms length. My brain filled in the gaps thinking that there must of been some sort of critter on the poncho as we had just emerged from a wooded area and they didn’t want to touch it. But they weren’t going to do what I thought they were going to do were they? Surely not? In fact they did. I saw them hang the piece of poncho over the balcony of the area I was standing and just as I said “Don’t drop that” they did. I looked at them with hate in my eyes. “I had something on my coat” they said. I sighed a sigh that they had no idea what it meant but here they were in my church and there they were desecrating it with plastic litter that will no doubt take 100 years to degrade and that’s if it is not eaten by a creature which then may or may not kill it. My heart was in my throat as I felt what they had done, it was as if I had run into a place of worship and stripped naked waving my dangly bits at the vicar/padre/monk/pope/whoever, thats how it felt to me. I had to get away from them before I said something I would of regretted but I regret a little not saying more. Not asking them to go and pick it up which would be hard for them to do considering where they dropped it or why they didn’t get a stick and remove whatever was troubling them. Why did they see this as an option and why they had no idea just exactly what they had just done to my personal temple.
The rest of the day I may of acted weird to these girls, my mind and body full of hate for them for what they had done so I stayed away from them. I got back in touch with the temple that was all around me, the nature I was surrounded by and tried to drink it all in as some sort of way to forgive them. I cannot undo what they have done, I cannot even really educate them to make them feel what I felt and still feel and I thought by writing about it it would get it off my chest and in some way it has. The moral of this story for all of us to learn I feel is that no matter what a place looks like, no matter if you define it as a place of worship or not remember that for somebody somewhere they might call this their place of worship. We may not understand why the person feels the way they do about this place but for them this might be the place they get in touch with their real feelings, this might be the place they feel most alive so just be aware of that. After saying all of that I look back at today and this was just a small event on what was for me a very spiritual and giving day.
Somehow I managed to get through that without swearing, thanks go to my internal editor!