Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The big Why

I can't help it.  I love wild and open places.  

I only went to Australia because I couldn't get a job in the UK and someone offered me a job coaching rowing and fixing boats in rural Victoria.  I doubt I would ever have gone if they hadn't (imagining a sort of sunny Blackpool full of red-faced expats fleeing multicultural Britain) (I wasn't entirely wrong).

Me, in a previous life.  Great water!

This appalling snobbery meant that when the time came to take a holiday, I avoided the gold coast and went looking for Australian rock art. There is more of a story behind what I was up to, but it's slightly beside the point here so I won't bore you.

This is what I found:

From the great central peaks...the land radiates on all sides to the sea in sloping green ridges.  Between these are broad and shadowy valleys - in aspect, each a Tempe - watered with fine streams and thickly wooded...  Seen from the sea, the prospect is magnificent.   It is one mass of shaded tints of green, from beach to mountain top; endlessly diversified with valleys, ridges, glens and cascades.  Over the ridges, here and there, the loftier peaks fling their shadows, and far down the valleys.  At the head of these, the water-falls flash out into the sunlight as if pouring through vertical bowers of verdure...  It is no exaggeration to say, that to a European of any sensibility, who, for the first time, wanders back into these valleys - the ineffable repose and beauty of the landscape is such, that every object strikes him like something seen in a dream.
- Herman Melville, Omoo

The Grampians (yes, that's me again)

Six years later, I'm off to another great wilderness.  Thank you Australia - you lonely, wonderful, beautiful, strange country.