I’m in Byron Bay tonight and for those that have been here before you understand that the town has a heartbeat that beats to the sound of a bongo. Heck the welcome sign as you enter this laid back beach town even invites you to join it’s rhythm…
– Slow Down – Chill Out – Relax –
Young people in particular are drawn to this area. They mingle in small groups and straggle across the roads linked arm in arm from one happy place to the next; they sprawl out on the lawn that flows down to the beach past pandanus and seagulls; they stuff themselves into cafes and little restaurants along Bay Lane wedged in elbow to elbow. All smiling. All beautifully in touch with the moment. That moment of just being. Carefree. That moment of endless possibility. And they all seem so happy and beautiful. Not just in the physical sense but in that most contented phase of bliss where they are just enjoying life and seeing what it has to throw at them.
It’s a very nice feeling and the higher vibration soon imbues itself on all those that come to visit the area.
The moment I arrive in town I head straight up to the lighthouse on the point. The most Easterly point of mainland Australia. Somewhat an icon in this area and I must visit for tourists the imposing white tower juts up into a ridiculously blue sky warning all seafarers of the dangers that lurk below her headland. Sea birds drift on the up currents winging their way this way and that and the waves roll gently onto rocks below churning up the clear water. As I’d been driving for nearly four hours I just pay the $8 bucks to the friendly park ranger to park my car in the National Park grounds. I didn’t even blink an eye. Clearly the vibe had already entered my subconscious. Maybe because I had the windows down as I drove through town I mused. Ah, what the heck… the path of least resistance and is it really going to matter next week, next month, next year?
The coffee machine has made it’s last shot for the day so I celebrate with a decadent chocolate ice cream instead. I forgot that NSW operates on Daylight Savings Time during the summer months so I’m an hour later than I thought I was. (Although not technically – it’s just they like to think so!) Which also means I have less than an hour to view the lighthouse, check into my digs and get to the bookshop for an author talk I thought would be fun to go to. Easy. Remember, I’m just going with the flow…
The first person I see as I approach the corner bookshop with it’s white timber verandah and Illawarra flame tree spreading out a flowery red carpet is no other an William McInnes himself. The author I’ve come to hear speak. He’s quite tall and somewhat older than I remember although still handsome and charming. I recognise that familiar Queensland sarcasm and wit which makes Queenslanders so endearing. He seems like a fun bloke, perhaps a bit of a larrikin and we exchange a little chit chat and share a laugh or two before he is set upon by some eager fans who have also forgotten the time difference and are in a flap to spend as much time as possible in his company. I smile as I make my exit to mingle with some friendly looking locals.
Margaret is a vision in her buttery yellow nylon outfit with the flower in her hair the only give away of her kindness which is masked by her cynicism and dry sense of humour. Nick and his wife are along for a laugh (and a free glass of bubbles or two) before they head off to The Green as they affectionately call the Bowls Club for dinner, presumably crumbed chops with mash and veg.
The talk gets underway and we are soon swept along for a rollicking ride with tales of growing up and the little things that we remember, the people we rub shoulders with and the funny things they did, the mischief we get up to. All the flotsam and jetsam that fill the gaps and the spaces in-between the major milestones of life, the meaningless things, the seemly unimportant things until we muse upon them and then realise that they are the things that ultimately weave their golden threads throughout our lives and hold it all together. He speaks fondly of his parents and how they are no longer with him. He reminisces and can hear the sound of their voices in his mind as he recalls how their own unique quirky ways shape and mould us into the people we are today. And it’s the everyday things. Habits, sayings and mannerisms. It gets me to thinking about my own life and what we will be remembered for. Chances are it won’t be for money, fame or fortune so it’s time to make every day count. Slow down but also enjoy more. More of the little things. And to have a crack at a few new things too. Enjoy every moment and realise that this is your life.
The night ends with a short rendition of Dean Martin’s 100 Years From Today and as I stumble out into the night rubbing shoulders with the young beautiful people I somehow think they already have it all worked out.
Live a full life for one day all you will have will be your memories and the legacy you leave behind… Let’s make it a good one.
William Mcinnes’ latest book FULL BORE is available at good bookshops now
The Byron Bay Lighthouse is open 365 days of the year and is operated by National Parks
For a pleasant stay in Byron I recommend BYRON SPRINGS guesthouse.
Listen to Dean Martin 100 Years From Today for some inspiration xxx
(This is a personal account of a night in Byron Bay. I have no affiliates with any of the above mentioned links.)