Total eclipse of the moon. The shadow of the earth first touched the moon with red at about 10.00pm. Slowly the magic light filled the moon from the bottom, turning it into a three-dimensional ball of rock hanging in the night sky. As the light faded, the starts shone, and the sky came alive. Alive like a giant 3-D spider web bedecked with dew jewels, scattered beyond what the human eye can see. The forces of push and pull that keep it all together, keep it all apart, are vibrating with energy. As the moon ball kisses the earth’s shadow, I feel the cosmic tide pulling on my body. The weight of the universe sits on my eyeballs, and I feel lighter than moonbeams.
It’s dawn time down the floodplain
On the lower Cooper Creek
The mist stirs on the waterhole
As the Coolibahs sway and creak.
Like a green and ragged thread
That holds the fragile land
The markers of the sometimes flood
That seeps into the sand.
Where the budgies weave their magic
Among the boughs and leaves
A chattering cloud of colour
That plays among the trees.
They tell us tales of travellers
Who camped beneath their leaves
All the characters of the myths
That feed our modern dreams
The poets told the stories
Of how the dying stockman lay
And how the swagman boiled his billy
In the cool of the Coolibah shade.
How the men of far horizons
And the dying and the lost
All blazed their mark upon the trees
As a message on a post.
So now on your evening walk
Along the Coolibah shore
Think of the countless wanderers
Who have rested there before.
The Dierri and the Wongaroo (Wangkanguru)
The parched and desperate drover
All those who sought the shelter
Of the Coolibah standing over.
For now all is soft and pretty
The waterhole is fair
But imagine the searing heat of summer
When it burns to breathe the air.
Once again, we visit the protest camp. Our host, come presenter, is another of life’s psycho-nodes who are washed up in the backwaters and eddies of society. Let’s just call him the gate-keeper. He did actually confront us at the gate, fearing we were WMC people.
When asked to expand on the “water issue” at Lake Eyre south, he quickly went off on a conspiracy theory. He told us about the underground, how it’s inhabited by aliens with eyes as big as a phone book. They inject your blood with “irradium” so they can track you. He is an orphan because his mother (who owned a $10,000 green couch) worked for, and was murdered by, the CIA & AMEX. His father died when his pink coupe with black stripes careered off the end of St Kilda Pier. He has a CD that details the genocide of humanity that he has to reveal to the world.
Tomorrow night is a full eclipse of the moon by the earth’s shadow, and he is off to a dance party.
Arrived in the dark after a dash up the Birdsville Track from Lake Eyre South. Birds were on our mind. At dawn, a short drive to the northern end of the dune revealed a wonderland of water birds. The water was flooded to the horizon, and supported an enormous population of birds. Ducks by the hundreds of thousands, heron, tern, pelican, cormorant, dotterel, geese, gulls, etc. Great black swirling clouds of waterfowl disappearing as the flock turns into the light, then rolling and unfolding into view.
Noises, like a great, murmuring crowd, bursting into cacophony and wing, as a shadow passes by. Birds of prey, fat sleek and lazy, occasionally working the nesting sites. Squadrons of pelicans beating their wings slowly, defying gravity. We, the humans, sit on a red rippled sand dune and wonder at the abundance of a sometimes dry and empty place.
"Words are clumsy pretenders of the images of my mind."
As a practicing artist I have travelled far and wide across Australia, walked on country, camped on country and rolled out my swag. I thank the custodians and I acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. I pay my respect to Elders past and present.