November 21, 2013


"There is no stretch of land more ancient than this. And so it is blunt and red and barren, littered with the fragments of broken mountains, flat, waterless. Spinifex grows here, but sere and yellow, and trees are rare, hardly to be called trees, some kind of Myall with leaves starved to needles that fans out from the root and gives no shade.
At times, in the early morning, you would call this a gentle country. The new light softens it, tones flow a little, away from the stark forms. It is at dawn that the sons of Tourmaline feel for their heritage. Grey of dead wood, grey-green of leaves, set off a soil bright and tender, the tint of blood in water. Those are the colours of Tourmaline. There is a fourth, to the far west, the deep blue of hills barely climbing the horizon. But that is the colour of distance, and no part of Tourmaline, belonging more to the sky."

Randolph Stow - Tourmaline

I got in the car and drove. Our new car, clean, untainted and unfamiliar with the local roads. After half an hour on the highway, I turned right, off and out onto a rough and dry dirt road.

I used to get in the car and just drive unwittingly on Sundays when I lived at home, looking to explore some place new, indulged by the need to be no where at no time. I'd find a spot and park the car and pull out a book and read, stopping between pages as I looked up and took in the surrounds of a new destination, before rendering to the realms of my novel.

Our new car has reinvigorated the call of undriven roads and uncharted destinations. After 45 minutes on a dirt road I pulled into the heart of a national park and got out of the car with my packed sandwich and book. The silence of the outdoors was loud, as I found a picnic table beneath the whistles of native birds and bugs competing for airwaves. I felt the most in the 'middle of nowhere' ever in my life as my constant over connectivity with the world was short circuited. My only option for conversation was God. So I stayed a while, before a buzzing wasp got the better of me and I ran back to the car reached my threshold for discomfort and shamefully confronted with my lack of resilience for the outdoors and simple settings. Justifying myself with thoughts about life being about the journey, rather than the destination I turned on the engine and ventured home.

1 comment:

  1. that is so large empty land so scary to think that you might get lost there . I could see sky scrapper rising in that place and abundant mass of people will live there in the future