I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
William Butler Yeats

The rhythms and routines of life have become very disrupted of late. Covid has an enduring influence in that disruption. Mental health hasn’t really flourished for many people over the last couple of years, for people with anxiety, depression or even vulnerabilities they didn’t know they had pre-pandemic, it has not been a great time. I have no excuse. I have long known how to manage disturbances in my equilibrium and while not always successful, I am almost always functional and few people would ever be aware that I have issues. I know it is really, really, important that I get solitude, preferably in nature. That I also manage to exercise in a way that generates relaxation, for me that is either bushwalking or swimming. That I eat right, and not give into stress eating garbage, what I normally refer to as, suicide by food. Truly amazing how much garbage I want to eat when I am at work. Over recent months I have let slip the routines that help keep me grounded and functional and I have been paying a price for that.

(Very funny G photo of honey eaters and miner birds hanging around for chips)

That slide has occurred gradually, an insidious slipping of standards, first I start to find it harder to get those quiet escapes to the bush, even bushwalking for an afternoon seems to be a waste of time, exercise in general slides, I find excuses not, to go for a swim. Life starts to stagger between work and home and nothing else. I sit in front of a screen all day, snacking on food I know only contributes to the problem, not the solution. Recently I have been desperately wanting a circuit breaker. A chance to get away from people, work, myself even. A chance to re-set and get back into the steady rhythm of functionality, something more than just treading the water of life and clinging to the wreckage. And last weekend I finally got that much needed break.

A weekend camping at Lake Cressbrook, a really quiet camp in winter, only one other couple camping when we arrived on Thursday. A beautifully, sprawling camp ground, easy to find solitude. The lake was especially quiet, I guess since it was completely closed to water activities at the moment. Recent flooding has resulted in a water level that is above the crest and until it drops a bit, the council has closed the site for boating. Normally it is a great spot for fishing, but no boats, not even kayaks allowed at the moment, so unless you want to bush walk or just sit on the shore and keep the kangaroos company it is not a place that draws huge crowds. Perfect for me at the moment though.

No people, no wifi, no phone, no computer, just beautiful open eucalypt woodland around a serene lake nestling amongst the surrounding hills. Clear night skies that seem to help slow my racing brain and tune back into the rhythm of the earth. Nothing really beats just sitting by a camp fire on a cold night and watching a full moon slowly rise over the hill line to send a dazzling reflection across the lake.

Just sitting and watching the great golden orb of the moon rise I could feel myself slowing down, my brain starting to let go of the incessant noise derived from work and everyday demands. Breathing slowing and peace slowly creeping back in. I have needed this kind of short break desperately, but it has been hard to find the time and opportunity. Camping has changed since the pandemic, it is now a lot harder to find a quiet campground. Sometimes it is hard to find a camp site at all. with huge demand now the new normal. Everybody and their dog seems to have a van of some sort now and looking for escape. It is not just grey nomads and young van lifers these days competing for sites but families, everyone it seems. Not that I begrudge anyone the kind of peace I value so highly.

Misty Morning

Lake Cressbrook is a perfect place if you just want a little back to nature, peace and quiet. It can’t be pre-booked, but at this time of year demand seems minimal anyway. The camp ground is large and well spread out. You simply need to fill in the camping form and drop the money into the box on arrival, exact cash is required as you are not going to get change. At $8 a night per person it is good value for money. You get great camp sites with lots of space, mostly for tent camping, but you have a handful of sites for vans at one end of the camp ground all with views of the lake. You get access to clean flushing toilets and excellent hot showers. Facilities are not large but what you have is great. There is also a covered camp kitchen with washing up facilities, bbqs and a fish cleaning area, nothing too elaborate, no microwave for example but clean and serviceable. No powered sites but if you need to re-charge anything you do have power points in the bathroom and kitchen blocks. Ph and wifi is virtually non existent which I guess depending on your point of view can be a huge plus.

The lake is part of the Toowoomba water supply and the surrounding grounds are designated as flora and fauna reserve, so no dogs or other pets but wildlife abounds, definitely more kangaroos than people when we were there. The Lake is celebrated for the quality of the fishing, you just require a stocked impoundment permit. The Lake would be great for Kayaking although on our visit it was closed for boating, that might have been another reason why the camp ground was so quiet. By Friday, a few people were arriving for the weekend but with so much space you didn’t have to talk to anyone unless you really wanted to.

Located about 50ks from Toowoomba and about 25ks from Crows Nest, this is a nice local retreat that we will definitely be visiting again. Peace and quiet away from all the noise of town life. A nice easy walking trail winds round the lake edge. Walking the lake edge I found myself hearing the Yeats’ poem Lake Isle of Innisfree in my head. Discovered Yeats in high school and he has always been amongst my favourite poets. Cressbrook is my Innisfree, fortunately I can escape to that particular lake’s shore and peaceful setting pretty easily and it doesn’t just have to live in my imagination.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core. – William Butler Yeats

2 thoughts on “Peace on the lake shore

  1. This really does look like an idyllic spot and perfect when we’re seeking a bit of peace and solitude. Good on you for taking time out, it’s so necessary and being by a lake or ocean hits the spot for sure. I’ve added this spot to my long list of places to discover when we get to Qld.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great that you could get away for some needed time out and restoration. If there is one good thing to come out of the pandemic, it is the recognition of mental health. I suspect many of us have slipped in our healthy routines. I know I have, but I blame the cold weather for that. Love the poem by Yeats – lapping water soothes my soul too. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

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