I have had the most wonderful time away back in the State and the city where I (mostly) grew up.
Primarily the visit was to join family members to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of one of my Aunts.
People came from far and wide.
I also had the opportunity to visit with family members on the paternal side and an old school friend, a wonderful highlight of the visit.
I stayed with one of my brothers and his family and their generosity of making a car available (and the Tom Tom navigation system) enabled me to visit many important people and places.
It has been about 23 years since I lived in Brisbane and the city and it's population have sprawled to such an extent that there is no discernible beginning or end between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
I was amazed to see at some points, six traffic lanes in both directions, but even more amazing for me is that those lanes were filled with cars. The roadways were filled with super stores, not just shops, but great big stores with big ugly signs and huge car parks. There were trucks everywhere, freighting everything imaginable to enable this high density population.
I am going to admit to you all here and now that I have had a time of soul searching and questioning.
In the face of this excess, I floundered.
I thought, "What is the point?" "What does it matter what my little community in Tasmania does to take steps towards a more conscious living style in the face of such excess"
To be honest I felt like my efforts for the environment were like trying to bail a leaking boat with a teaspoon.
That is not to imply that Brisbanites aren't doing their bit because if you look, there are a lot of solar panels on roofs and people are using less plastic and are forced to be more water-wise. Public transport is very widely used and I know from some of my favourite bloggers living in that area, that there are lots of people growing and greening.
It is just disappointing to see people driving distances and crowding shopping centres to buy things they probably don't need or could easily buy around the corner.
The prevailing mentality seems to be, "bigger = better".
The reality of dense populations and their associated problems really hit me hard front on.
So as I pick myself up and dust myself off, shake free the disillusionment and cynicism,
I find a re-newed love for the people and my home in Tasmania and a stronger conviction that we can only live our life to the best that we can. I can't control the environment out there, but I can control what happens within my garden gate. I know that fewer visits to the doctor these past years is proof enough for me that our path is right for us.
My father often quoted us throughout our childhood,
"I once cried because I had no shoes,
till I met a man who had no feet"
It teaches me perspective and thankfulness for the things I have not the things I have not.