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A chance encounter at Gaia

To many cancer patients, Olivia is an inspiration. One guest shares his poetic recount of a chance encounter with Olivia at Gaia Retreat & Spa.



Wandering the lush green lanes of a dream

on a drive with my daughter, Genevieve (fourteen),

we admire scenes of hills inland from Byron

beyond Newrybar, nearly missing a sign for Gaia.


Diena, the mother of Genevieve, admires all Olivia

has ever done. We know she’ll be impressed with our

chance discovery, so down the driveway, uncertain

and excited, we give ourselves permission to be there.

We inquire about the tariff on behalf of Diena, survivor

too, of cancer illness, who now spreads the message

of Love and wellness. O wouldn’t she enjoy a massage,

a day of meditation, a week of blessings in this heaven?

We are bold, believing we will meet Olivia, though

most likely she is far away in L.A. or flying with angels

as stars do, somewhere over rainbows or the Pacific.


A view opens out for us under a smiling sun.

We imagine Diena with us as we stare into afternoon

where sky meets mountains of the Great Divide

with all the time in the world, until daylight fades.

We watch a lone figure taking photos of distant hills

as if in farewell. Diena if she were here, would also

be framing memories of ever-changing hues; majestic

clouds. The lone figure is not the manifested Mum.

She seems more like a fan at the end of her stay

at the resort, capturing last moments of being there.


She’s a woman in love; in love with this place; in love

with being alive and well; she is Love. Did she meet her star?           

She walks nearer with camera and smiles. She is Gaia. “Oh!”

I think: “She looks so like Olivia.”  In this exquisite jumbled

moment in the face of fame, I nearly bring Genevieve

to say “Hello” and almost ask Olivia for a photo pose.

Just then a shiny black BMW SUV stops and parks.

A gorgeous pup, the colour of faded fudge bounds out

and barks a greeting in response to the song of her elegant 

equally excited owner: “Say Hi to Auntie Livie!” 


Back along green lanes of dream, still hardly believing

we’ve seen the real Olivia, we stay excited to share our news

with Diena and sister Charlotte. But most of all, thanking God

and Gaia, we didn’t hamper or rudely interrupt a family reunion.

written by John Wright