Skip to content

Writing Memoir – Appeal To The Senses

July 31, 2018

Workshop 3 Page 61 – Appeal to the senses.

Write about a place that has been important to you. You need not have stayed there long, but it must be somewhere that has stayed in your memory. (10 minutes)

I fell in love with Fall’s Creek, in Victoria’s high country, immediately, the first time I went there in the mid 1980s. We had decided to take the kids for a fun weekend of toboganning in the snow. This first weekend led to many, winter weekends at Falls Creek, as they came to love skiing.

I knew immediately, that as much as Falls Creek really appealed to me, I had no love of the snow or skiing. I don’t like the cold, and I have dodgy knees, so was never going to try skiing. At the time, I was an aerobics and gym instructor, so really needed to look after those knees.

As the children raced off excitedly  to the chair lifts, skis over their shoulders, I would settle myself in by the fire and lose myself in a book. I had no desire at all to step outside into the freezing air or the snow. Just getting from the car to the fireside was enough to convince me that the snowfields would never be my playground.

Visiting during the snow season only, for the first few years, I’m really not sure what it was that made me feel that this place would capture my soul, if I was to visit in the summer. I knew that it was becoming a popular place for hikers in the summer, and was keen to return at a much warmer time of the year. I looked forward to seeing those beautiful trees in all their glory, without a thick covering of snow.

For a few years, we would drive up to this gorgeous mountain village after Christmas, and I fell in love with it immediately. I hadn’t discovered hiking at this time, but really enjoyed walking around the village both with the kids and alone.

One year, we decided to spend the Christmas/New Year period there, and headed off after having Christmas lunch with the family. We were the only people staying at our favourite hotel, and when we arrived we were surprised to find it was almost as cold as it was during winter. Before long, we noticed snow flakes on the window. We just couldn’t believe that it would snow in Victoria on Christmas Day. I remember this as a magical few days, as we stayed inside, mostly relaxing, reading and playing board games.

In the following years, as the children grew up and started to do their own thing, we kept returning to Falls Creek. I had fallen in love with hiking, and loved discovering the fabulous walks in the area. I loved heading out onto the walking trails, heading up on the higher trails,  where tall majestic trees lined the peaks.

My favourite hike was to the iconic Craig’s Hut. I hiked there on every visit. Even though Falls Creek was becoming popular for summer visitors, it was still rare to see anyone on the hiking trails, over the Christmas/New Year period which is when we usually went.

Eventually, life got in the way of fun, and we stopped going. I thought constantly of Falls Creek and what I loved about it in summer. Of course, I loved the serenity and quietness. I loved walking in the high country when it felt like I was the only person up there.

In those days, hotels and ski accommodation were closed during the summer months. There were no supermarkets or shopping strips. There was only one general store/post office which opened for just a few hours every day.

To me, the best thing about summer in the high country was the quietness and isolated feeling it generated. It was easy to imagine that I was the only person on the mountain and, after the busy life I was living at the time, I couldn’t get enough of that feeling.

A few years passed by and eventually my marriage broke down. I found myself living in a large city, where I knew nobody and was worrying constantly about what was going to be my future. It wasn’t long before I started meeting people through cycling groups and was starting to feel a bit more settled. However I still worried about what was going to become of me. I seemed to have no direction, and wasn’t sure how that was ever going to change. I couldn’t really see how I could live the rest of my life this way. I was lonely, I missed my family and I was really sad most of the time.

So I made a spontaneous decision to go up to Falls Creek, that place that I loved, which had become quite a spiritual place to me. I had much to think about,  and I was sure that at Falls Creek I would find the answers.

It was January, and I wasn’t working so there was nothing to stop me from heading up the mountain for a few days. I decided to go for a week, and was looking forward to staying at our favourite hotel from previous visits. On arrival, I was told that as in years gone by, I was the only person staying at the hotel. I was given permission to use any part of the hotel that I wished including the pool. All they asked of me was that I put the cover back on the pool when I was finished.

Starting on the first day there, I fell into the routine of getting out of bed early and eating breakfast on the balcony, overlooking the mountains. When I think of Falls Creek, now, it’s that breathtaking view that comes to mind. After breakfast I would go hiking for a few hours, then swim and rest with a book in the afternoon. Bliss!

I immediately noticed that there were more people around than in previous years. Progress had come to the village,  with a new supermarket and a couple of bars. There was even a coffee shop close to my hotel.

The hiking trails were still quiet in the early hours of the morning. I noticed that as I was finishing, other hikers were just getting started. This suited me, as it allowed me to walk in peace and quiet and not be annoyed by people talking on the hiking trails, which is something that I tend to get annoyed about at times.

I’d love to say that I solved my life’s problems while up at Falls Creek. But really, I didn’t give those problems much thought at all. I had the most beautiful, peaceful time alone up there in the mountains. I look back on that week  as one of the best times of my life, even though my life was in turmoil.

After a week of bliss, I returned home, where eventually, life started to fall into place, and I evolved into the person that I am today, which is a different person to who I was when I was married. I am happy, calm and at peace with who I am. Even though there was no magic cure found at Falls Creek, I’m sure that my spiritual connection with the tiny village helped me to find direction in my new life.

  • The writing exercises in this series are from Patti Miller’s book – Writing True Stories, published in 2017, by Allen & Unwin.
Advertisements

From → Family stories

6 Comments
  1. What a great account – I love how you found happiness there in your earlier days and then peace and solace later down the track. It sounds like a very special place indeed.
    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM 🙂

  2. I found hiking during and after my divorce and taking trips into the White Mountains in New Hampshire was soothing to my soul.

  3. How lovely. I am not sure that I can think of a place I have been to that would give me peace. Good for you that you could go back and reconnect.

    • It’s only I’ve realised the importance of Falls Creek to my life. There may be an important place for you that you have thought about for a while and haven’t needed to.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Loretta Travels

Travel tidbits and vicarious adventures

Best Bookish Blog

Independant Book Reviews and More

Trisha Faye

Cherishing the Past while Celebrating the Present

Removing the labels one pair of pants at a time

Celebrating and Loving our bodies

Candy's Farm House Pantry

Life on a Dead End Road

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." Cicero

Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

ancestorchaser

A Tribute to my ancestors by Kerryn Taylor

Next Phase In Fitness & Life

Over 60 and living my best life

'Genealogists for Families' project

Family History and Genealogy

GeniAus

Family History and Genealogy

Western District Families

Stories of Pioneering Families From the Western District of Victoria