I was cycling one day in Darwin and had ridden my bicycle about ten miles out into the bush. I was feeling really down, I was missing my family terribly and missing my friends. I had become quite tearful and depressed. Everyone had assured me it would pass and that the missing generally goes away after about six months, but I couldn’t see any let up.
Having said that, it’s really lovely cycling in Darwin because it’s flat, everyone drives on the left and because there is such a small population in the town, there are hardly any cars. If you see six cars in an hour then that’s going some. It was a hot, hot day in the wet season and I was trying to get to a charity shop out in the middle of nowhere, to have a mooch.
I cycled left and something caught my eye as I rode past, it was an orange bag which was lying on the grass at the side of the road. I could see it was a linen bag, the kind they sell you in some supermarkets, or are given out at events and conferences and I decided it looked too interesting to cycle past. I did a U turn and peddled back to where I had seen the bag.
Getting off my trusty bike with the bread basket on the back where little dog Jessie used to sit to be cycled about, I bent down to pick the bag up. It had a logo on it which related to a women’s charity. I could feel it held a secret inside so I opened it up and took out a package of paper. As I unwrapped the paper, disappointingly, a pile of stripped chicken bones fell to the ground and as they tumbled down, to my horror they released a torrent of biting, stinging red ants all over my hands. The ants travelled rapidly up my arms to wreak more damage. It must have seemed like a scene from a movie as I danced about anxiously brushing ants from it seemed, everywhere. They were on my clothing, in my shoes, on my neck, in my hair. Once I was satisfied I had managed to rid myself of my ant invasion, I hurriedly got on my bike and rode off rather more quickly than I had arrived.
Strange and scary though it certainly was, it was also a profound moment in time for me when I finally ditched my sorrow and began to be aware of a change taking place inside my mind. A new seed of excitement had planted itself, an excitement relating to my future and a happiness in my heart that I could actually feel taking place as it grew in strength. I began to smile and then to laugh as I recognised I was at last ready and able to let go of my past. Spotting the linen bag was my epiphany and I realised that the experience had taken on a sort of metaphor for my life as I had been living it. Releasing the old chicken bones and seeing all the ants streaming out seemed to me to trigger a different kind of release in me of all that had been weighing me down and gnawing at my soul. I shall never forget that cycle ride, it lifted me up and moved me along and it was a marvellously defining moment.