While travelling in northern NSW, it’s been wonderful to catch up with those we love, and the best connections are those that I haven’t planned in advance. There’s something more special — more serendipitous — about unexpectedly meeting friends in their main street or at their local shop. These reunions make my heart sing, for it’s evidence of a relationship that is not bound by the conventions of societal manners — instead, we’re both open to the flow of life and sharing our hearts when we do connect.

We stopped in Nimbin to catch two days of the Nimbin Rocks festival.

Playing in Nimbin Pool, October 2013
We appreciate the easy access of Nimbin's public pool, which is conveniently located between the caravan park and the playground/skateboard park. The pool is a large circle with the deep area in the middle, so it's terrific for younger children who just want to paddle.

Nimbin Rocks Festival, October 2013
The quality of music at the Nimbin Rocks Festival was highly variable, but we liked catching up with good friends who either live in the area or were visiting for the day.

After running into our dear friends Hellena and Currawong first on the main street of Nimbin and later at the pool, we finally made the trip up the mountain to their new home. It’s been a joy to relax with them and catch up on the last year. Although we stay in touch online, there is so much that is never spoken about online which is shared face-to-face.

With Hellena Post and our children, October 2013
When Hellena and I bring our two families together, we share eleven kids between us. There's no way we can get everyone to pose for a photo at the same time!

Spiral-Moon on her seventh birthday, October 2013
It's an honour to be included in the celebrations for Spiral-Moon's seventh birthday.

Spiral-Moon on her seventh birthday, October 2013
As she got into the festive spirit, Spiral offered to draw a love-heart on my leg. After outlining the heart, she added a wonky cross. "It's a peace symbol," she explained, "so it means both love and peace."

I love seeing how people truly live, especially those who are surrounded by the happy chaos of many small children. We had kids running in and out of the house all the time, exuberant in voice and intense in their make-believe. In a free household like the Posts’, the cries are few, the food plentiful and the love abundant.

Currawong in the kitchen at home, October 2013
Each night, Currawong threw together an amazing-tasting meal from the organic and fresh ingredients that were available in the house. I'm impressed by the enthusiasm with which he tackles most tasks in his large household.

Hellena feeding her sons, October 2013
Like a trio of baby birds, the three boys flock around Hellena for a bite of fresh pawpaw.

I loved seeing how Hellena and Currawong wind down their kids at night by simply sitting on the couch and letting the boys crawl over them while Griffin talks over his latest scheme. Lilly and Spiral are very good at engaging their parents throughout the day, but the five boys seem to wait until all possible games are played and the day is definitely over before they clamor for attention.

It’s definitely easy to visit a family like the Posts because our children get along so well together. The older girls share common interests, and our younger two play together in the company of the gentler boys.

Drawing and playing in a house, October 2013
On a quiet morning, we're left alone in the house, and the girls continue their drawing and games. When our girls draw alongside their friends, they learn new skills and techniques, and I love to see them develop these.

Brioni with a puppet show, October 2013
After spending two days creating very elaborate puppets on sticks, Brioni gives us an amazing show with an elaborate storyline and dialogue.

Calista and the boys, October 2013
Calista and Balthazar were almost inseparable during our visit, although they did occasionally include the three younger boys as well.

Merlin and Lana playing, October 2013
Once she got over the loss of her usual playmate Calista, Lana discovered that it was pretty fun to play with the boys too.

Lilly with her rats, October 2013
The Posts have their own rats — boy rats, that is, so we kept our females *very separate* from theirs. It's been interesting to compare the differences between male and female rats. Both sets of rats received a lot of attention during our visit!

Hellena is definitely a creative inspiration, especially for fibre art. When I last saw her, I was barely crocheting. Now that I’ve finished some decent projects, it’s been a joy to discuss our aspirations and desires for bringing more wool into the world around us!

Wool hanging on the verandah, October 2013
I love all the woolly artworks Hellena has hung up around the house. She transforms her rooms into galleries for her free-form crochet style. On the verandah, raw wool that has been dyed by Currawong is hanging up, waiting for the next spinning session.

Crochet spiderweb in a tree, October 2013
Hellena's artworks flow outside the house too. A large crocheted spiderweb hangs in a bottlebrush tree near the front door.

Crocheted flowers outside in a garden October 2013
Under a giant Moreton Bay Fig, Hellena has started covering stumps with a variety of organic shapes and flowers. Dr Seuss would be proud!

Even before we drove away, everyone was asking when we would return. It was hard to bundle everyone up into the bus and drive into town, knowing that we possibly wouldn’t see our friends for months. But overall I’m grateful to have such a warm open-welcome from such a beautiful household, for I’m never quite sure where the road will take us!