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  To have an excuse to go bush is a good thing. Ahh~ I got to go !   The logs are getting low !!! I havn't  got the quality I want.!!!!     

What a shame.~  I got to disapear for a  week or more, with just the  stars as  a roof ,the  birds as an alarm clock and   sun and a fire for warmth and cooking.

Brian and I have been itching to go again, two moons ago was last trip. Its dark moon again , when the tree  saps running slow  a good time for cutting didg, going inward, disapearing  for awhile.

I'm trying to get things uptodate in the shop and on the web and  Brian gets the food and gear  together. We hit the  road on a friday and drive and drive and drive. Through the day into the night. From the coastal rainforests,  to the mountain plateau, to the dry woodlands of the  Great Dividing Range , down the other side, down the brake  nightmare hill, off the  Great Divide and into the flat open farmland. Onward hours   of farmland over  ranges  more farmland, darkness, forests  dirtroads, dry land, scubby land, rocky sandy soil, flat country.

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Lunch time under a big old box gum

On a mission we are, recent  trips we'd   drive a bit, then   stop and walkabout , stay a day move on,  a few days here and there, the journey unfolding. This time we're making  a beeline to  a  spot we like. Where we left of last time; Brian ,Paul and I that trip, memorable days, didgs and    didgin and dance around the fire. Many laughs,  Brian dancin with a fire stick and burning himself,  bucket loads of  baked  garlic in the camp oven and the ~ the results, good feeds  put together by Paul~ his bush trip specialties.

Midnight we  pull up, after miles and miles of dusty dirt roads.  We're home again. Swags out and shuteye.

Bird song for breakfast and a walk, food later,we spot a  a few didgs   wandering, but for now we're just  taking in  the  special bush, the sun rising, shafts of light through the gums, crsip clear air, some wattle blossom on the breeze, it couldn't be better.

Coming back to familiar country we wander further than before through the box gum forest to the edge of the MalleeGums;  they blend in with the box and then take over , a sea of mallees, perfect didg size,  endless. Only early in the day or  late in the day can you easily know which direction is what.  Midday  in summer, in mallee country is rather fun especially if the heat frys  ya  brain and your left going  ahh which way is what~ frantically  turning  full circle and it all looks the bloody same.

The first day is long , the magic  of being  back in the dry country; our  early morning  walk has taken us deep into the  bush and we've  found pockets that are promising, so our  day finds us wandering, skirting,  back and forwards or walking onwards. The search is on  ~  eyes pealed, looking at the shape of trees, the dead branches, the ant nests on the ground, scanning like   a metal dectector   waiting for the telltale visual signs to add up and the  beep beep in our brain goes off,  like a magnet we're drawn , woh! look at that. Thats promising.

Sometimes we're in each others sight , or of on our own, one moment there, the next  one  looks up or calls and  the other has disapeared. Enjoying the shared journey and the time alone. 

We're always looking for those dead  trees, perfectly  sun seasoned wood or trees on their last leg dieing back,  the sap barely moves, such  an effort, its lifeforce slowly retreating.  The tree is ready to be tipped fully into degenerating    on its way back to the earth. Time for the  termites  to finsih of the job they started in hollowing her out. The struggle between  life  and death is so strong in this country.

Then we come along, human termites seeing the tree  ready to let go. We'll support you on a new journey good tree,   your  lifes spirit , an offering  to others.  The   wonder of a tree  eaten out from the inside, silently accepting the dance of life and death , in balance in harmony, connected to earth   and reaching to the stars.

That first didg of the trip, theres  the excitement,   we're like the   hunter one with the  prey, its no different.  Sometimes theres a connecting in, a moments thought,  other times the saw is quickly biting in, with the wieight of our body and our arms willing it over. I feel thankfull  receiving   directly  from the land. It feeds my family , my soul  I couldn't ask   for more. To pass on their   magic, the sounds, the artwork, telling stories of the  animals birds and insects the intricacies of the  cycle of life and learning. "Life is good  when we let it be", to quote a friend Jim's   saying

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A termite nest below and its inner city highlighted above .

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Its an ideal to be in balance, to be in tune,  but  sometimes I stuff up,  cut  a tree, a branch  that  I regret, its rarer nowdays   but it happens. I feel a shit, like a logger eating  the forest, in that moment all the sensitivity and awareness  in our approach is forgotten and I question it all. Forced to feel what it is to die  only to trust the purpose in it all. Seems ridiculous and its not, sometimes I feel OK, and dont question it , sometimes  the opposite.

But the roots are strong,  and I suppose the way we're approaching it is too. So in death there is life.

Drought is common in this land and some trees die or wind has taken them out,   yet they've  learnt to adept, the roots under the ground stay alive, accepting the withdrawal and then with  the rains, the tree  shoots  forth  once again .Its a buzz to go back to an area I've  didged a long while back and see a 6   foot sapling grown back from the base , where a didg has been cut.

Didgin is dirty sweaty work,  the digging, the cutting, the carrying and sometimes bloody, a slip of a blade, a stick a branch ,  its  rare  to not come home with some  souvenier of the wound  kind. I dont go looking for it , hey I dont need it, but  the trees  and  termites bleed, if I do, its OK, I bleed with them.

Sitting down at lunch Brian cracks me up , acting out a termite families demise, the massive sound of some monstor cutting into their home, hey grab the kids, ohh the bright light, we're falling , the worlds  ending; Brian goes on for minutes  humbling me to feel it from another perspective. He's a comic with a purpose. I wish I had a tape recorder.

Actually  I brought the video camera along this trip,  a hard decision it was to bring it. Going bush is a time to get away from all the watching eyes, and especially mine within. Time to forget  trying  to size things up. Its a time to just be , not question or look too seriously at oneself, a time to   feel Ok about being  dirty, unwashed, unkept ~ who cares. And cameras take us out of the experience so why.

Taking it was an experiment, could we use  it  capture some moments and stay in it. It proved fine. Brians sense of humour  rife on a  bush trip, set the scene on hamming it up which is normal, but hey play with it on the video- why not.

So I missed the Termite Act 1, but other moments were had along the way where the video was brought out. All  in the flow.

Talking about the termites  again, I dont want you to feel too distraught about the pillage and plunder of didging. With  the majority of didgs, the termites have   long left their  handiwork and moved on. They love the inner heartwood and leave the sap wood. Funny enough, they  stop before they touch the sapwood, like sensors they are, always  in tune with their home. When  we cut a didg  and the termites are still hanging out, we shake them out and  sometimes they move on, sometimes they're food for an army of ants that come in for the kill.

Gee  the ant world is amazing, all the different  varieties marching around on missions invading other territories, setting up there  mounds and walls against invading rain-floodwaters, carrying things 10 times their weight, marching along in single file,~ what a world. How much are we like them.


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Night time coming on

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So when we cut a didg  we shake out the termite nest, or use a   stick to pry it out and   if we're really lucky we give it a toot and   play the didg straight away. Thats the best. Makes for  a special didg thats for sure.  Sometimes the nest has even turned to dirt - gone and the didg is straight away to the mouth and droning.  Who knows what else is  inside.It generally isn't a thought

Like snakes or whatever,  when in the flow of the bush and didging   I feel protected like I'm part of it. No worries. Bare feat or sandles and trust that Joe Blake, the snake will feel me coming and  give me  space.  A blue tongue lizard one day , going ahh ( noisy like) and sticking  his big  blue tongue  at me,  when I had no idea he was  a few inches from my feet   was  my most fun fright.  Yeh sorry mate, I did nearly step on you. What an adrenal rush. Hey my heart works OK.

Night time , no electric lights and nature sets the cycle. Dinner as sun sets,   fire warming, some didg and raving into the night,  watching the stars in the swag, and  bed earlier than at home, all  preparing the way to wake again with the sun. Rhythms begun, we're in tune again, and the cycles of the worldly world day by day seem crazier and  more foreign.

This trip we're staying in the one area,  using our feet not the engine. And   days later when we hear the first sound of an engine, we startle like animals in the bush  wondering who passes by, whether they are firend or foe. Looking out from within the bush we keep ourselves out of site just checking them out. Their  car slows  to check our  car,  wondering  who we are as much as us with them.

I walk out of the bush to get a better look and get  a vibe to say hello. A couple of beekeepers, good fellas too . Like us they earn their living from the bush, in tune with cycles and  the flowering trees , moving around searching out good spots to put their bees and collect their nectar.

They cruize on to check a new spot to move the hives too , and we head back  into the bush. Awhile later  I head out back to the car for something .

Because we disapear into the bush for hours, we  lock the car,when we remember, just   in case. Only this day when I discover the keys are in the car as well and the spare has disapeared from underneath, I curse. Moments later the bee fellas drive back along the track  Hey whats up, a locked car!!. For an hour or more the four of us have fun trying to break into my car, with laughs and raves   of  cars and bush and whatever. When all else fail they laugh while I cry as  the tomahawk gets raised to the window. It took threee hits, bloody hard glass. We're back in biz.

The fire at night time is always welcome   and something special always unfolds. A hollow log in the fire and  some fire didging   has become a ritual and  the fun we had with a  long  big hollow log  one night was awesome. The photos give you a sense. Flame, like air,  like sound, are elements hinting of the spirit world, the mystery, and its fun to play with , respectfully of couse.

The days  run into one another and our pile of logs grows , some back at camp, some in small piles of at distances, to be picked up when the engine  gets a kickstart, others  to be carryed the distance when we get the energy. Our sholders get  a tad raw from carrying heavy logs  long distances, and our arms feel it. But its great to be exhausted  at the end of the day, and  satisfied in so many ways.


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Yeh I did laugh

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Smokin didg


Flamin didg below

Brians holding this upright. Solid wood  on the back obviously.

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Its great the raves that unfold  out of ones normal reality. Unravelling life  back home, the meaning ,the challenges, the stars, cosmic realities and twaddle , the world  ~  the progress and the insanity. At some point it seems to be all covered. Both Brian and I this trip seem more, like, wanting to stay for good, we fantasise of  living here. Both of us  with challenges to go home too and  feeling rather content in the world of nature. Who'd want to go back we joke more than half seriously.

But the last nights not far of and the sun will set on our sojourn. Is it   as romantic as I write it? You  who read too will have your  experiences holidaying , camping or  journeying in nature, and   I try to  encapsulate those high experiences that come with stepping out of our life and being in a fresh place. I've found  the more I honour this the more it unfolds, so yeh its like a love affair with the journey,  a vision quest, a walkabout. A time to  more fully open to the magic of life. And  with it the pain and the business of  our real life  bubbles up to the surface wth the time to feel and  think afresh.

So slowly we work towards the journeys end. Didgs get cleaned out, some of the bark gets removed, and we seal the ends  to slow the drying. Is that what we're doing inside ourselves, feels like it, I  reckon  all lifes reflective.

Just like an aboriginal fella who just walked into the shop now as I'm typing away and we get into a rave  about  didgs and wood grain and  and  how animals and beings look out from the wood and speak to us. Reflections are everywhere speaking to us. He goes onto say that  the day he sees a full blown wise man looking out from the wood will be a happy day.

He leaves , I feel good for the visit and the journey continues in a computer, in the bush,  in my mind. Conected reflections.

As we sort the didgs we  revel in each ones features and dream of their potential and what we'll do with them. Its an exciting time.

As the're finally sorted out   they start to fill the trailer, bedding them down for the journey home.  A final walk before starting the car and heading to collect the other didgs, we go  looking for an ancient mallee area where theres some old growth mallee, how it all was once before thousands  upon thousands of square miles of mallee scrub were cleared.  Wise-hah- farmers decided it would be better that way. Now Australian deserts creep outwards  from the centre a bit each year. We take the camera to get some shots and say our goodbyes.

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Looking down a hollow log on fire. Check the fire spirit smiling.

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I'm driving about 40-60 km/hr keeping  my eye on the track with video camera   out my window   to catch Brian playing it up. Amazing how many things you can do at once. I had fun pulling this still of the video. -watching over and over again Brians antics.

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Rainbows led the way home

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Back to the car and Brian jumps  on the  trailer and as we cruize up the track I  take some shots of him as I drive. Him playing it up  for the camera. You'd luv the movie version.

We pick up the other didgs, several piles and   head to another spot down the way  for a final wander. Just a couple more. We cant help ourselves. It s a  bugger to say  our goodbyes. In this new spot we   walk deep into the bush and come across didg heaven. I lay down  with my back against a tree in a circle of hollow trees with  didgs for as  far as I could see. It was an all time primo spot.  I just took it in. Brian came over and we took   it all in. He'd been coming up with the same woh about this spot. It wasn't right to take anymore, time to be  thankfull for our journey. This spot would draw us back again. It would be the magnet of our next trip.

As I write   now I plan to travel in a week there, I sit at my desk and I sit in a grove  of didgs  who are part of my life. A chemistry I can't explain, or an addiction. I dont know  and I dont care much. Its just going to be  good to get out there again.

But our winter journey isn't  quite over  yet just as the didgs we found then are still part of my now in writing. I see them  in front of me now  taking form and travelling overseas  and touching  peoples lives and I dream back to that trip  and all its juice. I also dream forward to returning.

We drove  part way home that night and slept  in the bush near the   highway. Onward homeward the next day, the diesel engine  chuggging along with the weight of  a very full trailer and the hopes of the next phase of our didg journeying.

Up the Great divide we made it up in second gear, sometimes its first, and a rainbow invited us homeward as we watch big black storm clouds  skirt of to the north. East and onward home getting close, and so is another journey to happen soon.

This time though it'll be by myself. Thats fun too. I'll miss  Brian though. The challenges of life, that  I alluded to before, have led  Brian another direction for awhile, and I'll miss his company next week. He'll be there in spirit though.

I'll go and  sit in that grove and send out  good vibes to me bro. Hope your   travelling well and all. I'll look forward to next time.

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