Natural world immersion
The stick was long and strong, more like a staff then a walking stick. It helped with balance as I made my way up the creek. Sometimes walking in the water, balancing on slippery boulders, skirting deeper pools on rock shelves, occasionally stepping along fallen logs. Gibraltar Creek is a beautiful stream. It tumbles clear water through eucalypt forest. Cascades. Small falls. Sinuous flow over orange stone. Sluices past aboriginal axe grinding grooves in large white granite slabs.
I explored slowly upstream. Part of the creek that no-one visits. No track. Bush too thick to penetrate on each bank.
Small fish. Orange yabbies. White faced honeyeaters and grey fantails. A small red bellied black snake swam across the surface then dived below some submerged sticks. Kinship with other living things.
I carried a wide snake bite bandage and a first aid kit. Slow, wary, watchful. Not a place to be bitten or fall hurt. Over boulder chokes and log jam dams. Hot.
Like when I was a kid. Exploring the creek down valley from home. In the bush.
Often I stopped. Captivated by the moving water. Eroding the landscape, changing it through millennia. Cycling to the ocean or evapourating and raining and seeping then streaming again. Life blood of the land in veins. Joy at being in touch with the elements of life.
Swam. Took in the forest below the Falls. A love for the earth.
With thanks to Steve Van Matre who has given us a language with which to understand and communicate our deep and abiding emotional attachments to the earth and its life. “Earth Education a New Beginning”, Van Matre, S. The Institute for Earth Education, 1990, Warrenville, USA