I am a city girl who has a very solid relationship with the hustle and vibe of city life, but I do have a quiet crush. I try to resist acting on my heart’s wondering affections, but as often as I can I just acquiesce. I have a longstanding and not-so-secret crush on a little town that pulls at my heart in ways unrivalled by any others.
Every so often I have a yearning and, as a family we are off, northbound, to a place that my soul recognises as home. A place where one feels safe, embraced and unguarded.
Upon arrival the quiet stillness washes over me and into me and I am reminded that I am in the presence of my mentor, my teacher, my shining light.
This small town wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s unashamed vulnerability and rawness is on public display for all to see -hand-drawn shop signs and unbrushed hair are all part of its honesty. This little town in the Northern Rivers region of NSW is not known for its Opera House or even a Big Banana. Intimate, open conversations with strangers are, in my eyes, its main tourist attraction.
Whilst I love my life in the big city this is my place of refuge and respite. This is my go-to place when I need to recharge, heal and renew. It is like returning to the family home when the outside world feels hostile and demanding – mum’s cooking and your childhood bedroom provide a familiar comfort, and there is no self-consciousness required.
I am inspired by its humanity. Its causes and community values are paraded through its small streets and humble homes. There is unwritten local lore here, but even as a visitor I am amongst my tribe, and I get it.
I love it, and here are some of the things that make my heart smile and my soul sing….
- I love when you go to the local store looking for Aloe Vera to treat sunburn but they have run out, someone suggests you walk down to the community garden and pick some fresh.
- I love that you can only borrow 5 items from the local library to leave enough on the shelves for everyone.
- I love the menu at the local pool – Miso soup with gluten free toast, or a dandelion tea with soy.
- I love that the large-chain supermarket (hidden away in the back street) has a ‘trade-in’ system set up for the latest set of cards they are giving away to kids, as part of a reward scheme. Bring in your ‘doubles’ and trade them in for cards you still ‘need’.
- I love that the guy in front of me at the local store asks Sharon, on the checkout, how her birthday party went. (It was a blast!)
- I love that the pierced, tattooed doctor at the local hospital (it’s a long story) refers to his patients as ‘brother’ (and ‘ sister’ presumably).
- I love that the community takes it upon themselves to erect their own street signs.
- I love that the lovely man who has lost one eye stops to help me as I precariously juggle arms full of shopping, all whilst sharing stories of the flood on his property and his family Xmas.
- I love that the pool at the house we are staying at has a little makeshift ramp so the frogs can get out after a swim.
- I love that the woman at the local herbal shop that I go to get some ‘Itchy Scratchy cream’ for a mysterious rash that one of my children has developed in the heat reminds me to check her gut-health. A woman of my own heart.
- I love that my kids aren’t the odd-ones-out when snacking on fresh fruit and nuts when out.
- I love that even the street art has soul.
- I love that the local gym offers their community free access to their filtered water (so when a bandicoot dies in one’s water tank one does not need to drink it!!).
- I love that this same local gym just makes up the Xmas timetable from one day to the next. It keeps one’s yoga practice flexible and prevents attachment.
- I love that the lifeguard at the pool knows everyone by name.
- I love that pronouncability is not THE major consideration when naming ones cafe.
- I love being surrounded by rainbow colours everywhere you look. It lifts the spirit.
- I love that as you drive into town at night you are greeted by a small, heart-shaped refector attached to the tree on the side of the road.
For now I say goodbye to Mullumbimby, but I know I will be back soon.