Monday, April 06, 2009

Trip (Day 3)

Karijini National Park is huge, covering over six thousand square kilometers, but its principal attractions are clustered together in one convenient corner. It’s famous for its gorges, a series of interconnected scars in the earth through which natural springs send cascades of water. The rock is sedimentary, with each layer more or less horizontal, and while hard it erodes fairly easily. Over the millennia this has produced formations of bizarre regularity – natural amphitheatres, paved walkways, and canals lined with neat ledges. The gorges look like a cunningly subtle constructions, or ancient cities that have had their formal edges blurred by the passage of centuries.

The gorges are protected from the ravages of the wider environment, and have a steady and permanent water supply, so as you’d expect they are filled with life. In the ones we visited today there were tiny bronze coloured frogs the size of houseflies, and darting dragonflies in acidic shades of orange and red, as if God had designed them with a particularly vivid set of highlighters. Cheerful looking lizards dyed red by the dust, with tails twice as long as the rest of their bodies that coiled and undulated as if they were a separate creature, constantly darted across our paths.

Back at the campsite there are always wild dingoes sniffing around, mainly at night, looking like small ghostly dogs in the moonlight. We set out a baby to distract them from our food supply and our luggage, as is the custom among my people, but even so I just saw one sniffing thoughtfully at one of my party's tents, as if considering whether there was anything tasty within.

Speaking of moonlight, the light from the three quarters full moon tonight is astonishing. Bright enough to see colours, bright enough to see your way around, bright enough even for me to write things in my notepad. Don't ask me to read it back to you, but it's still pretty neat.

It’s now late in the evening, and I’m lying on my back in my tent with my head just resting on the threshold. I’m looking up at the moon sailing silently through the cloudscape. I’m listening to Billie Holiday on my iPod. I’m feeling wonderfully contented in a way which has eluded me for a very long time. Something about my current environment encourages me to grab hold of these tiny but perfect moments and appreciate their simple beauty.


Blogger an9ie said...

What is this? A non-bitey post? Where is Blandwagon and what have you done with him?

Sounds like you're having a good time. Hope it's not too hot up there.

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Karijini is one of my favourite places in all of Australia. I'm jealous, and glad you're enjoying it up there.

3:45 PM  

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