A year ago I met Paul and we began a conversation that has never really stopped. He is that rare person, someone who can listen. My thoughts rise up to meet his and together we do some remarkable journeying of the mind.

He is interested in absolutely everything and meandering along the river on a sunny afternoon we make forays into astronomy, the habits of birds, geology, the formation of fossils, the technical aspects of photography, botany, history and..

... well, it took us three hours to complete a forty-five minute walk. We had to keep stopping to clamber up or down to look at trees, fungi, rocks, bugs, spiders.

We stopped and took numerous photos of leaves and flowers to identify later. I have a new giant book of Tasmanian flora, and am so happy to meet someone who can stand still long enough for me to count the petals on tiny flowers.

We spent twenty minutes walking back and forth trying to discover the source of an elusive scent that reminded Paul of travels in the Daintree, and also of coffee. We discovered later that it was the scent of the Stinkwood bush, which made me very happy indeed.

Tiny beautiful things cause us to stop completely in our tracks. A pink robin, fish finning lazily in the pool below the waterfall, skinks in the sun, tiny cup-shaped lichen.

I am continually delighted by Paul's own delight in every lovely and fascinating leaf and rock and creature and cloud and shaft of sunlight. If there is a single thing on this planet that doesn't interest Paul, I have yet to find it.

 I am rather humbled to be able to share this journey with a gentle, kindred soul. I am learning much along the way, but best of all is to be with someone who can stop and listen and wonder. Thank you, Paul.


simplelife said…
Such a rare trait to find in an adult. As I read your words all I could think of was how it reminded me of walking with the children when they were small. Wonderment and joy with no concept of time.
Cheers Kate
Treaders said…
Aaahhh that's so sweet. Oddly enough I felt like that about a young man (Greek Australian) I met when I was travelling round Australia in 1983. We could (and did) talk about anything and everything. Sadly it wasn't to work out (not for lack of trying on his part though) as I went back to my job in Switzerland (which was where I really wanted to be) and my ex boyfriend love-bombed the hell out of me. Who knows, maybe it would have worked. I guess we'll never know now though will we!
Anonymous said…
Nice post, Jo. I imagine Paul feels just the same way. You have each found someone very special.

Linda in NZ

Jo said…
Kate, it is like that, but without worrying that Paul is going to fall in the river. Although, to be fair, he was worrying that I was going to fall over the waterfall at one point, so for him, no doubt exactly like walking with children..

Fran, :)

Anna, ah, those 'might've beens'!

Linda, it's so true.
Anonymous said…
What a lovely walk you shared with us! How wonderful you have found a kindred spirit to journey with. Truly wonderful.
Patricia Fl/USA
Meg said…
It is a rare thing to find a person who has retained the wonder of childhood, who can still be amazed and intrigued by the biggest of things through to the tiniest of things. It sounds like the conversation you began will continue to enrich both of you for a long, long time. Meg
Jo said…
Patricia, this is a gorgeous set of waterfalls called Liffey Falls in northern Tasmania. And I am, as you can see, rather chuffed to be journeying along with my kindred spirit:)

Meg, I am always attracted by people who have an abiding interest in All The Things. At the very least, it makes conversation effortless and fascinating:) One of the joys of writing this blog is meeting all the people who retain that sense of wonder and open-heartedness..
Lucinda said…
So happy for you! My Man and I also talk about so many things - history, natural phenomena, space. He shares many of my interests and takes an interest in my current obsessions. Like Paul, he will stop to look at things that catch my eye. I register so many more little things when we walk than he does, but he usually stops, observed and discussed them with me. And we always find things in our discussions or on our walks that we need to “look up” when we get home. It is grand having someone who shares an interest in knowing things.
Jo said…
Lucinda, it is so great to have someone who gets what you are talking about, isn't it? Or even if he doesn't get it, he asks questions until he does. Heaven.

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