Hustle and Bustle of real life returns,
The airport a reminder of where we are
And to where we return.
The Dreaming is over,
Our spiritual journey at an end.
Sadness weighs heavy
Upon our shoulders, our chests.
Tears flow gently down.
Succoured by our native land,
Fed by the dreams of its age.
A journey started what feels
A life ago is now end.
Reality crashes in,
Time stands quietly, guardedly still.
We fly high above Kakadu
Not visiting now, gone.
We twist heads, peer back
Wish it was not ending.
Set our eyes for home.
Distant city trapped between seas
Arafura and Timor vie for your beauty.
Verdant green grass and shrub
Trailing bougainvillea, flowering vines
Silver fronds, red of Lipstick palm
Lining streets near deserted in the noon day heat.
From cyclonic rubble, from first buildings
Now in ruin and preserved for memories sake
Has arisen a city of great beauty,
Peace, silence, colour, modernity
No longer a poor relative
To cities further down
A teeming heart within
The heart of this great land
We lie upon the grass, shaded by tree
To relieve the humid, heavy heat
Surrounding our bodies
And we gaze
Across the Arafura and Timor Seas.
Moving through the cold desert night
Awakened from our warm, cocooning beds.
Night flyers seeking the right winds, we wait in expectation
At last to be told we fly.
Red and yellow teardrop rising into the early morning sky
Transporting us into another world.
Purple, pink, orange aura on clouds foretells of the rising sun
As we wait, our breath held.
Below us in the rising light
Kangaroo and emu run from shadow cast from on high,
A dry riverbed awaiting the rains,
Delineation of land by scrub, as if drawn by our own hand.
At last the sun appears, washing away the cool of the night. Disappearing for a minute more behind foamy clouds
It reaches its zenith on the horizon,
And at last, we let our breath go.
Floating gently back to earth, a basket in the swaying Spinifex.
The sun warms us again.
We are alive!
We have seen!
Early century ‘watering hole’
Dilapidated, run-down, arcane
Lost in another time
That told of depressions, harsh desert winds
Searing heat, and freezing cold.
An anomaly, a freak
No friendly faces to assist
A weary travellers trek.
Outback humour, only no one understands
The quirkiness of incorrect speech
Or toilet seats nailed to a tree
Underneath a collapsing verandah
Where, perhaps, once jokes were shared
With others of like mind.
Then to the street, and another scene emerges
Of bougainvillea, desert frangipani
And flame tree in full flower
And you wonder how can such beauty
Exist amongst the scattered ashes
Of an era long ago.
Drag marks in sand,
Crocodile belly bands to nest.
Geometric rock designs
Step up toward the red cliff face.
Contrast of red rock, and white
Stretching far above to green tree heights.
Now faint in the arms of time
Adorns the walls above our heads.
More ancient tales of food and water
For others who pass
Close by this way.
Pebble strewn bridge divide
Between gorge and valley drift.
Tortoise follows shadowed slip-stream,
Swallows nests below craggy ledge.
A place of stories, a place of time
Disturbed none by our presence,
But keeping us mindful
Of the ages of this great land.
Hidden gallery of art
Its artists long deserted
From the rock dwelling place
Nestled in its protective shade.
Stick spirit people,
Hunting red kangaroos.
While white kangaroo waits.
Flower art, outline of hands
Spirit people painting ancient signs
Of the lands true fruits
Its survival ways
Known to initiated, no other may go
To touch, to read these pictures.
A twisted vine,
Leafless in the scorching midday sun
Waits for times that are better
The cooling touch of rain
The cold desert night air
The silence of this gallery, lost in time.
Chalk white boulder announces our presence
To the rich red walls rising high above.
At the end of the valley, we glance through v-shaped opening
Toward the desert glimpsed through trees
Leafed in green, alive again after the rains.
In the dry sand of the riverbed, a ghost gum awaits
The next outpouring from the sky.
While stagnant pool tells subtle tale
That the wait may not be soon.
Through dry heat shimmer we raise our gaze
High above us to the red walled heights.
A single tree, stature small but strong
Struggles against the elements to survive
The hushed quiet broken only by birdcall.
Time stands still here, as it always has.
Nature takes her time, there is no hurry here.
Towering palm trees soar way overhead
An oasis in the dessert
None thought they would see
One of natures oddities
Something that should not be here.
We swim and laze
In waters warmed by the earth
And walking along planked ways
Admire a spider web
Intricate in its weave
That lies across the entrance
Of an unused pool.
We visit Elsey Replica
A reminder of our Never Never days
When the ancients bowed down to man
Instead of staying married to the land
And we feel a shame, a humbling
That we took the people from this great land
A tried to turn them to slaves.
Steamy, humid heat
The walls, sheer height above us
Contrasted, as always
In the deserts beauteous array
Of reds, of white, of blues.
Neverending, or so it seems,
The chasm’s endless trail.
Ghost gums, dried from lack of rain
Lean their branches inward
Attempts to bar our way.
Palms and cycads contrast
With the ancient gums,
Providing relief to the eye along the chasm floor.
The flies, the flies,
The cursed flies
Try to carry us away
Veiled fight our weapon
Against their endless onslaught.
We travel on.
The Yellow Waters tour of the flood plains of Kakadu National Park is essential for any top end visitors.
Wetland, flood plain,
Waters as old as the dessert that surrounds.
Flood lines in trees, natures litter
Far above our heads.
Floating eye of crocodile drifts quietly by
As birds, unafraid of their awaiting fate
Call to one another, and fly about us.
Giant water lilies crawl along the shores
Flowering in unexpected colour
In the humid air.
We float gently along, low tide of seasons
Keeping us to our path.
Along a gentle flowing billabong
Caused only by the absence of rain
Takes us to places bountiful still,
Feeding generations of natives
Who ventured here to fill
Food baskets, empty stomachs.
We leave a watery horizen behind.