| 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.
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
A termite nest below and its inner city highlighted above .
|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
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.
Night time coming on
|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
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.
Yeh I did laugh
Flamin didg below
Brians holding this upright. Solid wood on the back obviously.
|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.||
Looking down a hollow log on fire. Check the fire spirit smiling.
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.
Rainbows led the way home
|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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