Monday 4th April 2016
At about 10pm this evening, our friend Caroline, whose driveway has been our home for the past week, came to say goodbye. She was just telling us about her experience spotting dolphins today, at one of her favourite local swimming spots, when I noticed something moving in the shadows on the fence behind her.
It was a very laidback brushtailed possum, who graciously spent the next fifteen minutes entertaining us and striking various poses for the camera. There is something deeply magical about coming face to face with animals in the wild, even when they live in the burbs. The moment was made strangely ethereal, when the musical neighbours (who had woken us this morning with what sounded like a sing-a-long-a-sitar workshop) began playing dreamy organ music that floated over the fence, providing the perfect soundtrack to our possum encounter.
According to Angeline Meloche, a healer who used to offer psychic readings at the Byron markets, encountering a possum is a sign you should look for opportunities and jump on them. While the Spirit Walk Ministry say that seeing a possum means something may not be what it appears to be and you need to “dig deep and look for the hidden meaning of situations”.
In particular, the brushtailed possum, says the Spirit Walk Ministry, is a symbol of the healer who comes “to aid the spirit of those who are ill”. Finally, the Western Australian artist, Pia Ravenari, says the brushtail possum is associated with “friendliness to those of like-mind, relaxation and appropriate laziness”.
Much of which sums up our time in Byron Bay. We came to Caroline and Glen’s (yes there’re two of us) on Wednesday morning, so I could use their wifi for an online training session. Then they generously invited us to stay on their driveway and like a posssum jumping on a roof, we leapt at the opportunity.
This week has pulled us towards relaxation and appropriate laziness, even if we’ve resisted at times, Byron has an extraordinary ability to call you to do nothing much but be still, in the moment and celebrate your good fortune to be alive. Even so we both worked hard on our projects while Jakkie, in her healing capacity, made time to give two massages while we were parked here.
Our sociable possum turned up shortly after we’d had a farewell meal with likeminded friends, Linda and Wayne (who put us up in Lennox Head), at the local Indian restaurant where we were entertained by a live sitar player. In any other town you’d automatically assume it was the same musician from earlier in the morning. In Byron Bay, I wound’t be so sure, it could be one of any number of sitar players from the local community.
So is something maybe not what it appears to be? Do we need to dig deep and look for the hidden meaning? If the meaning is hidden, how will we know?
We’re leaving Byron tomorrow with these questions unanswered. What I know for sure is that this it remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and it isn’t just the environment it’s the likeminded people that make this community (of locals and passers by) so special.
Finally, I couldn’t write about possums without sharing Jakkie’s possum artwork from her Australian animal range that you can see at her website here.