Thursday, 6 December 2007

In full flight?

I got an email from a friend today...... asking me if my spirits had returned to full flight.

I love this friend. He's really more like an adopted uncle. He's been a bit of a mentor to me as someone that has worked in the community / Not for Profit sector for years. He's insanely idealistic and won't let cynicism and poor government policy or bad practice drag him down. Anyway, he took a holiday earlier this year to Alice Springs which is the town near (well nearest - it's still a couple of hundred kms away) Uluru (Ayers Rock).
The big red heart of this wide land.
When you are there you can understand why land is everything to our Indigenous peoples. It is their history, their law, their "dreaming". It carries their stories. It is their text - their bible.

You've never seen a sky as big as the one in the centre of Australia. If you tipped your head back as far as you could you wouldn't see the end of it. You have to turn in a circle to trace the unbroken horizon all the way round. The earth is red - not a clay red - it is almost like a blush - rust and ochre. It makes an insane contrast to the blue sky.
When you first catch sight of Uluru it almost looks fake. Like someone has stuck a fuzzy felt against the vast blue sky. But as you get closer you get more and more excited. And despite the bus loads of tourists buzzing around, you will still be taken in. In that moment it will own you.

I went to The Centre with my husband after our daughter died. A bunch of people chipped in to buy us a holiday and we flew to Alice. A friend there lent us her 4WD and a swag (it's like a made bed in a canvas casing that you roll out - no tent as it's so dry, so you fall asleep watching the desert sky). Two weeks after a c-section is probably not an ideal time to drive 700km from the nearest hospital on bumpy dirt roads and sleep out bush with not a soul around. But for me, and us, it was the best thing on earth. I could think of no better place to begin a journey of healing then in that heartland. The land was patient with me. I would cry and wail and work myself into knots..... and when I finally looked up, it would be there waiting.... offering it's stark and rather painful beauty as an answer to my many questions.

I've lost my way - I started with a friend who had visited Alice. My beautiful friend - well he got stuck there. He's just left everything ad made it his home. I knew he would. He loves being with Aboriginal people and there is plenty of work to anyone in the community sector. So he wrote me a little email just to let me know he was there and to ask after me. Asking if I had returned to "full flight". I was going to write about how far I was from full flight..... (I'm still free falling...) but my emotions carry no weight now that I have written about Uluru.

I have the feeling you get when you stare a huge starry sky. You feel small and yet not insignificant. Somehow the proportions work out and you see your place in the world.

Instead I'll leave you with some photos from our trip there.

I'll write about me another time.



Kami said...

It's sounds beautiful - and so healing. I am looking forward to the pics.

Kami said...

Thanks for sharing the pics - it seems so peaceful.