Sunday, March 16, 2008

A visitor in the night.

March 3rd

Horsham provided me with a picturesque bush camp in a grove of large gum trees well off the road. Contrary to the usual dense underbrush I use for cover, it was refreshing to take advantage of the large tree trunks and fallen logs (checked for snakes) to obscure my camp. I was too tired to sleep well, and something small and light tramped around my camp. It looked too large and lean for a fox, but still much too small for a dingo. He crept towards me with curious eyes that glowed when I turned on my flashlight. He came close, less than a meter. There was no malice in his posture. Having just awoken, my body seemed incapable of being startled. It took me a minute to realize what a good photo this could be. I moved slowly, pulling my camera from its box and hoping its curiosity would overcome my now awake and moving body. It did. Its eyes continued to glow in the flash, and I managed some good if slightly fuzzy pictures. Dawn broke suddenly, and he left.

The dark green silhouettes of the Grampians had revealed themselves to me yesterday afternoon. Now in the early morning light, the crags of gray and black rock revealed themselves. I took the back roads -quiet country roads lined with trees. I saw few people, but felt the vibe of the mountains - that tangible knowledge of place and identity that comes from proximity to large and distinct rock. They were hills, but on the verge of being mountains. Pines, a recent addition to this landscape, had found a ready home, and my nose would quietly switch gears from Australia to America when the pine reached my nostrils. Water, running water, my namesake (in Hebrew Jordan = running water) rippled in my ears. I had not heard this sound the entire trip. The simplicity of the babble was enough to entice me to breakfast by it. I did this and then climbed over the mountain to the village of Halls Gap.

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