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The significance of sanctuary and memory

A recent holiday with Paul and our two sons resulted not only in some hours spent in nature by all of us but also for me in a flood of childhood memories.

We took the boys down the coast from Sydney during the school holidays, about a five-hour drive near Eurobodalla National Park’. The cooler air and Queen Anne’s Lace—a symbol of safety, sanctuary, and refuge—dotting the highway with its delicate white flowers made me nostalgic for my New England childhood with my twin sister and brother. 

Our grandmother Patricia ‘Nony’ taught us about botanicals and native birds. I remember pulling wildflowers from the forest floor close to her home, which was nestled in a meadow.  We’d make dandelion tea and eat the bitter roots and leaves because they were “good for our digestion”. 

During this family break, I realised how quickly my ten and twelve-year-old sons were growing up. I woke up early and ran along the beach while Paul surfed with the boys. The boys were around the same age as I was when many of my most childhood memories were created.

It was a poignant moment of recognition and connection. The beauty of the Eurobodalla surroundings and the Queen Anne’s Lace made me recall my childhood experiences and realise that the boys would now be making their own memories. And although different generations and geographies might shape my and my son's experiences, they would nonetheless have something in common: the sanctuary and refuge of nature. Memories associated with different oceans on different continents yet anchored by a feeling of connection.  x Jess

 

Koala Eco Journal

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