The view is spectacular. Mountains and valleys that extend seemingly without end. The blue haze that gives the mountains their name. Sunlight striking a cliff-face. The rich green foliage of densely packed Australian bush. The vibrant red flower of a Waratah that has bloomed early. The song of birds in the air.
It is incredibly beautiful. It inspires awe and wonder. I feel satisfied and at peace.
Then I read the news. Another refugee on Nauru has set themself on fire. This time a woman. Her name is Hadon. She is around 21 years old. Those who know her say she is kind and shy.
The Nauruan government releases statements that decry the base political tactic of self-immolation. It is heartless.
People only set themselves on fire when they have become broken, when they have nothing left but despair and anger. What have we done that a 21 year old woman is driven to this? She should be anticipating a future sitting in a B&B looking out over breathtaking vistas, finding the joy and wonder of life. Instead she lies in a hospital bed covered in burns.
One part of me wants to put the paper down, close the pages and pretend that the world is all mountains extending to the horizon. But the truth is that beyond those mountains lies a young woman in a world of pain. Surely we must be attentive to both. Forget the wonder and we become cynical. Forget the woundedness and we descend into narcissism. Remember both and we become human.