The road to the Cape passes through the heart of the Great Otway National Park. Tall, straight messmate eucalypts line the road, their branches leaning in to touch one another. These trees are not as tall or grand as the mountain ash eucalypts of our Dandenong Ranges, but there is an ethereal and also welcoming quality to them - beckoning you to enter and enjoy.
Coming out of the park and further into the Cape, you hit coastal flora - low bracken and scrub bushes and fields of fluffy sea grasses waving in the wind. But what I want to mention here is the coastal Manna gums that we are surrounded by in this area. Manna gums are the favourite food of koalas. They are short eucalypts with incredible twisting, twirling branches. To say that I am captivated by the beauty if these trees would be an understatement. Each one is a spectacular work of art. I can just happily stand and follow the unique course of each contorted limb. Some of these trees are beginning to flower and this is another specialty of the Manna gum. Most eucalyptus trees do not flower.
Near to our cabin is a 'flowering' gum full of bright orange blooms - I never knew of their existence before and am delighted by them. I have dreams of a native garden when I own my own home and am now adding visions of these bursting blossoms dotted around my fantasy garden.
The sheep continue to visit us on a regular basis and Forest has a rather confused love of them. I mean he really can't get enough of their company, with much sitting with his face pressed right up to theirs and chattering away to them in non-stop toddler speech. But.... the 'baa' is a problem. When they talk back it completely freaks him out. As long as the sheep are quiet the love affair continues, but one baa and the show's over!
Today we visited Cape Otway lighthouse. I felt compelled to go there after our visit to the graves of the lighthouse babies yesterday. As we walked along the jagged, fierce clifftops, I thought of that woman who had lost her little ones. As we ascended the spiraling stairs of the lighthouse I could see her footsteps on those same steep steps in my mind. I have thought a lot about this woman, and am fascinated to know more of her. I also have a very sad heart when I think of her long forgotten grief and sorrow.
I was so happy to find out some more information about her at the small cottage that she shared with her husband 160 year ago. Her name was Katherine Evans. This is what I read:
'..the wife of a long serving assistant keeper, William Evans. Katherine lost 2 children within 12 months whilst at this Cape. A son, Cornelius, and a year old daughter - Katherine. We see a heartbroken mother lament the lack of medical assistance or medicines in such an unforgiving environment. What's more, she faces the task of burying her children alone, her husband having detached himself emotionally, burying his sorrow in his work and sometimes alcohol. She pleads to leave the lighthouse and start life anew somewhere else but her pleas fall on deaf ears. The Evans' remained at Cape Otway for well over 20 years.'
So Katherine buried at least one of those children in that little cemetery all on her own. I simply cannot imagine how she coped. It is strange to think that in that place where Forest and I played and rested, Katherine once stood there alone and full of a mother's worse pain. I wonder what happened to her in the end and if she ever had more children. I hope that Katherine, Cornelius and little Katherine have all been blessed with more peace as their souls journey on.
annabel is two
1 hour ago