In the slant light of morning, this camp is nearly inviting, barring the scent of smoldering "ciggie" butts and the frantic hooting of the extended magpie family above my tent.

In Travels with Charley , Steinbeck says, "External reality has a way of being not so external after all." We perceive the world often as a macrocosm of our own experience. When we are sullen, a grey sky is sunken and drab, vapid and oppressive. In better spirits, the same sky may be mysterious and coy or insulatory and snug.

I am in Byron Bay, which I can best describe as vagrant hippie hobo meets brawny choch surfer meets skittles gone wild. A lot of rainbow kitsch, a lot of haggard dusty-bearded buskers, and a lot of dudes glued to their surf boards. They almost resemble herds of centaurs, marching with their wetsuits peeled down the waist--the nude top half of a long-haired man with gloved legs and a longboard extended horizontally behind. Put a bunch together and you'd think you were lost in Lewis' wardrobe.

Vibrant colors abound. On people, cars, buildings. Something in the air exudes rainbows, I swear. It's tough to say who wears more ink--the hoards of tattooed layabouts or the graffitied hulls of concrete buildings and automobile panels. The only surface not slathered in paint is beaches. In the early morning, they are sparsely peopled and smooth, not yet pocked by bum hewn footprints.

Today, I snapped this photo just after sunrise. The spit of land downhill from the lighthouse is the most easterly point in mainland Australia. The air was beautifully clear, the clouds crisp, and the sky inviting. If the way I saw the coast this morning is any reflection of how I am feeling, then I think it can be taken as a good sign.

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