Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blood Moon ~ A lunar eclipse

A different moon looked down upon me as I cycled home last night. The radio had been buzzing with speculation about how it would look, there were suggestions we would be bathed in crimson moonlight a sight not to be missed.
When my class was over it was quite late and the moon had already begun its arc across the night sky but something was definitely different. Dark and and weighty with deep hues of orange, a dense and dark moon tonight. It was like looking at the face of a friend through the hazy, tumultuous shroud of bushfire smoke.
The street lights obscured my view and whether I was bathed in crimson moonlight or the mottled glow of electric street lamps, regretfully I have to say; the moon was present but did not dominate the light that shone my way!
I peddled on and eventually I found a dark and quiet spot, I turned naturally and instinctively toward the blushing moon. It did look different! It was clear in the sky but obscured by something foreign! Strange to see it like that. Shrouded... Painted? ... Smothered by Gaia it's veil.
What I could see was the reflection of us. Imposed on our small and faithful celestial brother! The shadow of the earth fully cloaking the lesser orb and imposing it's dominance over the helpless globe. Bathed in the deflected light of Sun, the bloody hues a reflection of a crowded and busy planet. Hidden too long from a precious golden star.
The quiet moon bulges in a crimson shade and reveals it's true endeering strength. Somehow shadow does not extinguish the connection between earth and moon but for a few moments they are linked and inseparable.
They travel together, connected but apart... each on it's own orbit but inseparable by nature. The fate of one is that of the other and on the night of the blood moon they may come together and share their secrets hidden from the sun.

Well if not this then something must be going on around here! When I got home I whipped out the binoculars and had a closer look at the moon. The angle of the light on its surface gave it far more depth than I remember seeing! It somehow seemed more dense or three dimensional. Like the lack of glare from the reflected light actually allowed me to see it more fully. I know it's a dumb thing to say but I felt like it was really out there! Close and touchable and big.

When I woke this morning it dawned on me that watching this event is a really special thing. I was actually watching the shadow of the very earth I was standing on cast on the only surface possible of carrying our shadow! That is really special! In that sense it must be more significant than a total eclipse of the sun!


Friday, August 17, 2007

Disability Awareness Week

Although I haven't been posting much lately, there has been plenty happening! I just haven't felt much inspiration to bang away on the keyboard about it. (Sometimes this whole blogging thing gets a bit tedious! What is the good in it? Who will even read it? etc... etc...) Oh well what else am I to do? It's 4:30 am, I have only had about 4 hours sleep and for some reason since we returned from Broome my skin has become so itchy that it keeps me up at night! I can't see any cause of the irritation but it gets worse at night and it's driving me crazy today!

Enough about my woes!

It's a big week in Darwin. The Darwin Festival is in full swing with a plethora of entertainment centered in the gardens precinct and branching out to various locations right across town. It also happens to be disability awareness week.
As part of the disability awareness week festivities Geoffrey Yunupingu performed to a select audience at a local university on Monday afternoon. I'd read about the performance in the Darwin festival events calender and decided to get down there to see him. It turned out that the concert was by invitation only! Buy the organizers were very understanding and permitted me to come along, so I gratefully accepted their invitation...
This guy has such a great musical style! His songs are full of emotion and a deep love for his people, his family. Although the lyrics are mostly in Yolngu no interpretation is needed to convey the beauty he expresses. This was the second time I've seen him in a month and I can't wait for the next performance.

Yesterday also as part of disability awareness week we went down to an open day at a special little garden in Leanyer called The Plot. It is an amazing gardening and craft space that has been set up in a disused council works depot. In a shady nook of the property a group of students, teachers and support workers have created an oasis of calm and purposeful toil. I was really impressed by what I saw there and hope to be able to give some of my time to their activities in creating what may turn out to be a much needed community space on the edge of town.
This could be exactly what our community needs! A people's space run by the people, for the people! The opportunities this project has already provided it's participants are proof of its future potential! After spending just an hour there I felt empowered and energized enough to see out the rest of the day with a smile on my face!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I haven't really had the time or the inclination to write about our time in Broome.
As the finer details of the trip are fading and my work/family/study etc... etc... are growing I doubt I will get around to writing the full description of our greatest holiday in, (can't remember how many) years!

Here's a very brief overview...

Left Darwin, I forget what date but it was a day or so later than we expected, so many little things to do before we go!

Easy does it as we roll out of town. Barely made it past the shire limits before we stopped for lunch at Coomali.
Stayed at the Katherine lowlevel caravan park on the first night and struggled with the dramas of having to unpack the entire car in order to get to all the stuff we needed. Night one.

The next day we headed west from Katherine. Everything from here was new to us, neither Sam nor myself had ever traveled any further west than Katherine. The country west of Katherine changed little by little until we reached the VRD and Timber creek where the Kimberly trademark Boab trees began to appear on the landscape... awesome!

Gregory national park looked like it was well worth some more time but maybe on the way back.
We did an average of about 300 - 400 km per day and had plenty of stops. The hidden valley caravan park in Kunnanurra was a pleasant stop with plenty of camping space. The red rocky escarpment all around was a great contrast to the monotonous flat land around Darwin. In Kunnanurra we ran into some friends who'd had car trouble and were stuck there waiting for a new diff!

Onwards we roll. Stayed a night in Halls Creek, I think it was pension day and there was lots of grog around... Not a healthy place to live.. so much drinking and fighting!

The lodge at Fitzroy Crossing was so detached from the township! Heading west you enter Fitzroy by crossing a couple of bridges over the Fitzroy River, but the lodge is on the opposite side of the river separating the wealthy, orderly tourists from the gritty town of Fitzroy and limiting any interaction between the immaculate mostly retired travelers and the reality of the places and people they/we pass.

Did a boat tour on the gorge scoured through an corral reef millions of years gone. Getting closer now to our destination can't remember our next stop but we were soon in Broome!
So many cars on the road as we arrived. We found our caravan park besides the speedway but more quiet and shady than most! Not that there was a choice anyway everything had been booked out for months!

Caught up with an Uncle and Aunty who were traveling the country counter clockwise and headed for Darwin. It was the night of stairway to the moon so we set up camp just in time to join them and their friends at some kind of surreal luxury hotel on a bluff overlooking the mangroves! Our heads were spinning as we mingled in thongs and shorts amongst people from all walks of life. There were more than a few rich and famous at this particular venue the best place to view a fairly irregular event!

The Pigram Brothers were playing too. What an awesome welcome to Broome. Spent a few days down at Cable beach, there was an unusual swell and I got so into body surfing and jumping around in the cool ocean that I wound up snapping a calf muscle and was semi crippled for the rest of the week!

As we had been warned Broome would have been cool about 20 years ago! I still enjoyed the place though! It was NAIDOC week and we spent a fair bit of time attending 'free' cultural events! What a stroke of luck! Thanks to all the people who contributed to such an awesome week especially the ladies who read to the kids at the Library and the folks down at the fish farm who shared their culture and history with us!

Went on a great camel ride with Ships of the Desert. I can highly recommend. They were over booked and gave us an incredible discount for altering our booking! It was a fantastic ride and the personalities of the camels were delightful.

So much happened I can't even begin to tell so I'll end on the note that it was a most excelent holiday! We discussed going back every year, but time will tell.