journey to quinkan country

on the peninsula development road  
traveling to find the quinkans
travelling to find ourselves 

"The only journey is the one within."
Rainer Maria Rilke

 setting out from Yarrabah five days before
finding Mossman at sunset/moonrise
the church lights glowing bright 
with the confidence of faith
as the daylight faded

full moon rise 
 pagan and christian 
side by side 

mount molloy
ruins bringing forth new life 
nature quietly triumphant
the man made slowly acquiesces 

 in a suburban backyard 
jurassic encounters

 Cape Tribulation
an unplanned diversion
 something would have felt unfinished 
we crossed the wooden bridge

and found ourselves immersed 
in a thick sea of green green green
sea thick 
see sick

life so dense it overwhelmed the senses
and choked horizons
picturesque beaches bought welcome respite 
for too many

we rose early 
scrambled for the junction
then made for Cooktown 

savannah country
open woodland and wide spaces
grey-green of eucalypt leaf and branches - lilac shimmer
yellow-orange grasses stretch on forever
mountains granite capped
geology exposed

here we began to find
what we did not know we were searching for

[Black Mountain]
story place for Kuku Yalanji
gateway to Cook's Town
an apt point of entry
through the bare black stones
that swallow the sun
cross the threshold that takes you deeper
beyond time

a boat wrecked by a reef
'nursed into a river mouth'
just over there
you can almost see it
and more - here
 a place so unmolested by time
you can almost see
the land before the ship man came to shore

back in time further still 
traveling west 
Qunikan country
the sky opens wide and fills  
with the longed for familiar caw 
of red tailed black cockatoos

'Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again'

Caliban - The Tempest - William Shakespeare 

back to the dreaming time 
fragments of old selves tucked between rocks
rocks like old friends 
the new and yet so familiar
split rock - flying fox - tall spirits
 fresh to this country
we have returned to ourselves

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”

Matsuo Basho


sunday breeze / falling leaves

Dante and I started our sweet Sunday having a breakfast picnic at dawn downstairs beneath the palms... We ate watermelon, blueberries and grapes as a gentle breeze blew and our eyes travelled with the silent journeys of falling leaves...

the golden leaf that fell near my feet...

Photographing leaves as they fell around us and thinking of ee cummings and that poem that so delighted me when I first discovered it years ago at the age of sixteen.  I still think to it every time I see a falling leaf - so perfectly does the structure of the text echo the gentle downwards spiral as it falls...

ee cummings 1(a (a leaf falls on loneliness)




early afternoon Mission Bay
a solitary red leaf glowing on the sand 
an exclamation mark 

high afternoon light
low tide at Mission Bay
water slips away
to where does the ocean go ...

I am thinking of a film that I saw some years ago in Alice Springs as part of the Sydney Travelling Film Festival - In My Father's Den, by Brad McGann.  The dialogue and voiceovers spoken throughout the film were at times so evocative and haunting I found myself scribbling quotes in the dark of the theatre and saw the film twice during the festival... 

excerpts from a story by Celia Steimer  featured in the film...

'One day, in a town at the edge of the world, the tide went out and never returned. The sea just left without warning.

As the days went on, more and more people went looking. The people searched far and wide, but the ocean had vanished without a trace... But then no one, not even for a moment, had stopped to question why the ocean had left in the first place.

... the ocean had disappeared for good. And the people, together, alone, had no choice but to face each other in their loss. They made a home for themselves in a new environment, although one that had changed forever. They learnt to live in the space the ocean had left — although it lingered in their dreams...'

making a practice 
to document at dawn and dusk
the earth beneath me 
and the sky above me 

'present moment - wonderful moment' 
Thich Nhat Hanh

the curlews are calling out to sea
the moon at my window  - silent  - white
wholly night


Cy Twombly in Rome

In 2009 I was utterly fortunate to visit Twombly's retrospective in Rome at the  Galleria nationale d'arte moderna e contemporeanea [GNAM].  I had travelled to Europe on a rambling art adventure with three personal 'art targets' - Giotto's Cappella degli scrovegni in Padua, the Museo Morandi in Bologna, and at least one Cy Twombly painting...

Approaching GNAM I caught sight of the banners hanging down from the museum's facade and my heart literally skipped a beat.  Not one Twombly, but ten entire rooms of the gallery dedicated to this exhibition, previously at the Tate and in celebration of Twombly's eightieth birthday. More than seventy works were featured - including sculptures, paintings and works on paper  - spanning Twombly's entire career [thus far]. 

As any fellow admirer of Twombly's work will tell you - to fully appreciate his work it must be seen in the flesh.  We spent the day at GNAM luxuriating in the scribbles, scratches, dribbles, fragmented texts and endless motifs. It was not just an incredible assembly of works, it was an incredible location - Rome - the city that has been both home and muse to Twombly for much of his artistic career.  Having already spent a good deal of time exploring the city prior to seeing the exhibition, I was afforded much insight into the references made in many of his works. 

Cy Twombly
Wilder Shores of Love

For fellow Twombly fans,  cy twombly is a website with a comprehensive list of works, information on the artist and its design is minimal - allowing one to focus on the images featured. Well worth a look.

On the topic of 'Wilder Shores of Love', Yarrabah has its own wild shores and stormy bays complete with slowly corroding shipwrecks that Twombly, I am sure he would appreciate.  Below is an image I took at low tide of the large shipwreck  that decorates mission bay.

and while we are focused on the sea and decay: a little Shakespeare from The Tempest

ARIEL sings
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell
Burthen Ding-dong
Hark! now I hear them,--Ding-dong, bell.
To read Ariel's song in context, click here.

and for those looking for a sea shanty - here is  Camillie O'Sullivan's version of The Ship Song [Nick Cave] - haunting - wonderful



stealing time in the pre-dawn

yarrabah pre-dawn
dante is sleeping late and i have stolen outside 
to greet the first light of the day 
above me  -  a clear and open sky 
below  - my toes tickle asphalt and grass that has fought its way through the cracks
the air is clear and light
intoxicatingly fresh
welcomingly unfamiliar

the south easterlies have arrived
[and i am told]
the wet season is beginning its end

walking this morning for hours
with dante and Baba [dog]
ravenous for clear air and skies
that have for so long hung think and heavy
every flower- every blade of grass - every soul i pass
spirits lifted


paradise in a parking lot & a little more art deco

Walking Sunday morning through the streets of Cairns as the wind whipped up the branches and rain fell in sudden bursts, only to disappear just as quickly...

and below, spotted on a drive exploring Cairns North is Charlston House, an art deco lover's delight... This is a truly remarkable piece of local architecture, bringing a whole new meaning to the word 'character'.  The house is a rambling old Queenslander, now split into a series of apartments with the most incredible series of 'add ons' over time that have created a true architectural curiosity that oozes love and weaves its own unique charms... 

 and a web of tent spiders at Tony and Felicity's house in Stratford.  I have been watching this particular web grow and grow now since October last year and the number of spiders it currently holds is utterly daunting [when you are - as i was - taking this photograph standing underneath the actual web]. This image [as with many of the images in this post] has been taken using Hipstamatic.  Yes it is fair to say that at present I am rather enamored with Hipstamatic - stay tuned though - i will be sporadically rekindling my love for the rectangle, and the clear, unadulterated image...  any day now...