Day 5 - Monday 30 March 2009

I wake up to peer out of the top of my sleeping bag to see the first light. It looks like its early, so I roll over and go back to sleep. I wake up again some time later and its 9.10am. Argh! I quickly get dressed, splash water over my face, before getting up to Q3 for breakfast. Everyone else has finished breakfast so its just me, a bowl of cereal followed by a cup of strong coffee. The back to Q1 for raking, in fact hours and hours of raking and wheel barrowing grass off into the long grass for dumping. I fill up the holes left from the concrete pipes we extracted the day earlier, then dump the rest in other places out the back of Q1. Morning tea passes back up at Q3 then its into the next job, the removal of timber from the back of Q1 down to where the collapsed relief keepers cottage was. Here I dump it amongst the rubble, about ten loads all up. Lunch is back up at Q3, a very nice vegetable soup, then its back down again to Q1 for the final few timber dumping loads.

The next job finds me at the top of the Haulage-way to help Chris and Mike clear the top section of the haulage-way track as well as clear where the Whim shed once stood. The place looks very neat once we are complete, I must come back and take some images of it before we leave.

Why do I like Tasman Island? The island-ness is what attracts me, everything else is no more (whatever that means?) The rest of world is somewhere else. My world has changed. There is vast space, there is inner thought, there are moments of where the immensity of the physical geological beauty and awe are so striking and overwhelming. There is the endless sea, the vast enormous cliffs, the slight sound of the waves crashing below, the birds frolicking and chirping away, the grasses flowing rich in green red gold yellows and browns. The ghost trees, blown over in what looks like a state of shock, the sturdy and beautiful houses reflecting the short 100 year history and presence of human settlement, inclusive of the deterioration and the remnants, each trip back unearthing more and more pieces of what was once a functioning past. A vacant slab, an old marble, broken bits of asbestos, seeing this stuff makes me feel small, I think about my life and my past experiences and wonder why and how I got here. What decisions were made that drew me to this place at this time? The island can sometimes be so still, and at other times wild, windy, hot, burning, cool, I sweat and I chill. The distant whitewash on the southern edge of the cliffs, the looming edges, the steep grassy sections with huge fallen rocks on them. Each time that I come here there are more things that I find, more little interesting bits of what little human life once existed here. Each time we search and explore a little further, digging up more deteriorated treasures moving them around, destroying them and shifting their final resting place.

I really enjoy this space of vast exterior and introspective interiors. The enclosed spaces of the hallways against the open spaces of the cliffs, and the wide-open sky. What are we achieving by delving into the past like this? What effect of our own mark on this environment is being made by our resurrection activities? What will this place end up as? Will nature eventually reign supreme again and cover up or reclaim all of our activities, or will what we are doing remain here forever? Its such a place of contrasts Ė time, the short time I have been here, the short time that humanity has been on the island, all of this pairs into insignificance compared to the thoughts of time one gets when looking at the cliffs, or out to sea, or up at the sky, it all makes you think about the place in terms of long or deep time. My mind drifts away with the thoughts of all of this and comes back to earth as I recognise myself gazing at a bird flying by, and the feeling of the cold breeze against my skin blowing against my back. The coastline of the mainland fades away into the distance, its features being becoming less able to make out. This is where I am, isolated from everyone else except for the 9 other people I am here with. We share this island for this short period of time with its deep edges, short history of human impact and long history of unique geological formations. Being here makes me feel like Iím a part of the world at a place that challenges my soul, that allows me to think freely, is a visual and aesthetic explosion for my eyes and perception, makes me breath a little slower and deeper, and sleep more sound, it helps me to question, to know and not know, it allows me to explore my the inside of my head and really feel my body move within it.

I finish some writing and wander up to Q3 for dinner, Chrisís mixed grill with bread and butter pudding, the conversation around the table tonight is relaxed.

No sunset tonight, its overcast, after dinner I wash up clean my teeth then wander back down to Q1 by about 8.30pm. Iím very tired again after a big day of working. Tomorrow Iíll try and get some drawing in. Iím getting more and more intrigued by the valley, or dip section in the middle of the island that sits underneath Q2. Iíll try and do some drawings of it and take some more video, today was a writing day.