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Spoken from a beautiful indigenous womyn from one of Australia’s closing ceremonies. It was during the closing ceremonies and tragically I don’t know her name.

“The longest journey you will take is from your head to your heart.”

Yep. I agree. Glad I started to listen to my heart.

The crewSo after leaving my beautiful friends in Townsville I headed to Alice Springs on a 26 hour bus ride into the dessert. The country out here is so amazing and can you believe it there is a really old mountain range out in the dessert that people can hike. I was to meet my friend Angela and her friend Soph on the hike on June 20th, but upon arriving I couldn’t find them anywhere. After reading the log book (where you write down your route) I realized that they had left a day earlier. Oh shit! I decided that I’d do the 30 KM to the next water source to see if I couldn’t catch them (they had already been on the Larapinta Trail for 1 week).

Ghost gumThere is something about hiking in the dessert that is beautiful, challenging, and pretty spectacular. Not to mention the fact that I’m out there experiencing mountain ranges that are so old, so worn down, and so different from the young Rocky Mountains. I love that history out here .. the history that Australia gives through it’s scenery.

I jetted off at 11 AM on an estimated 10 hour hike and arrived pretty late in the evening with a bit of a sore leg. I think I evidentially did a disservice to my leg during the hike by hiking 30 KM (oh Shano when will you learn). Regardless, in the pitch black as I was nearing the campsite I could see a huge fire and they could see my head torch. I arrived at the fire and said hello and sat down to take a break. Suddenly I heard a “Shane! Is that you!” only to realize that Angela had arrived with Soph at that location that very day! Yipee!

Sacred Chasm

Unfortunately, for me that is, my leg problems only seemed to get worse and after climbing into a chasm with the two of them the next day we all realized it wasn’t smart for me to continue the hike for the remaining time (mostly because the following three days were meant to be for experienced hikers and are pretty hardcore). So that night we slept in the chasm having a huge feast of lental dahl, rice, and quinoa together.

The following day I got up and took the 4WD track to meet them at the next destination which was Birthday watering hole (thankfully the road was quite flat for the most part. After hanging out there for a while in the sun, writing letters, watching butterflies, and all the rest Soph and Angela arrived. Just before we had decided to make dinner a German man arrived and was driving his 4WD back into Alice so I snagged a ride from him back to the hostel. Twas sad to leave them but honestly was the smartest thing I probably could have done.

The track was filled with worn down mountain side which formed the most amazing looking shapes. It’s interesting from a natural development perspective of earth how things change and develop. How an old mountain range like this one can really become so worn down through time and yet still look so freakin amazing! The chasm that I went into (left) during the tour that I had to take to get to the start of the hike was completely smooth (like granite smooth) and I felt a strong sense of energy there. I pretty much wanted to sit in there for a good two hours but we had to go so I was happy I got to visit it at least once.

I was also happy enough to see some dingos, one snake (apparently when you see them in the winter they are super aggressive and it ran right past Angela — oh shit), beautiful butterflies (one quite large one that kept trying to land on my water bottle because it must have smelt some sugar I had on it), chasms, gorges, and beautiful birds. Wow… I can see why the aboriginals feel that this land is sacred and special. I do too. Oh and let’s not forget the methods to keep yourself warm during freezing cold nights (just like the rockies) with me in my new tent (yeah) and beautiful sunrise and sunsets. I’m still in awe!

Sending out love to those working through things, those finding themselves, those feeling love, and those that I haven’t talked to in a while. Don’t worry I still think about you!

Love

Shane

Pictures below coming later ..

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First nite at the Dreaming Festival

This last weekend I left the beloved Permaforest Trust (I’ll post more reflections on all that later) after doing two weeks there and learning a great deal from that experience and headed off with Sophie & other crew from the trust to the Dreaming Festival. For those that don’t know the Dreaming Festival is a gathering of all the aboriginal people from around Australia to celebrate the culture & arts of their people. So I spent four solid days taking in some amazing things including some pretty special theatre pieces, movies, and stories about what has happened to these people.

Much of the healing of this country is currently happening now. It’s humbling to know that frankly while healing they are still embracing the government and people that put them in this situation. I really felt an amazing connection, spirit, and intensity at this festival (that had about 3000 people attending which was really nice cause everyone was super cruisy, friendly, kind, and great). These people have been through a great deal in their time and to see them still striving to keep their cultures alive and strong makes me feel good inside. Makes me want to help them out. Makes me respect them. And makes me want to grow with all of that. Respect them and myself too.

In the process of being around such intense feelings (movies/theatre/songs about what has happened to them in the last 100 years) it created a great sense of emotional connection. I was happy to be a part of that. It also caused a great deal of introspective digging on my part too. It felt good to look back at myself in the last 10 years and think of where I’ve gotten to. How proud I am of how I continue to grow and just need to be conscious (as we all do) of what we are doing in the world, to the earth, to ourselves, in our communities, how we relate to others, what community means, and just being present in the moment.

Permaforest Trust Weekend[Previously I posted this on the permaforest trust website as an exchange for the use of their internet and computers.]

What is it about being in the country side that makes everything seem to change? Is it about being around all this nature that causes us to step back for a second and relax? Or perhaps just all the massive amounts of oxygen we are getting?

I doubt it. I honestly feel that there is something to be learned out here in the bush. Perhaps that as a permaculturalist (those taking courses and me observing them) I realise that they are watching patterns. Take things slower because food production isn’t about Mc Meals and rapid production but about quality, healthy, loving practices.

Communities can support this too. I think it happens in cities just as much as in the country. We just have to make that happen through community support, development, growth and nurturing. Think about it. We’d probably feel less stressed or rushed if we felt like things were going just a little slower. Or at the very least if you can find that beautiful get away each day or week to take for yourself – that’ll be a great start. Then invite a few friends, maybe make a pot luck meal, get some tunes, and it’ll all just meld. I think that’s the beauty of community gardens and other projects. It’s a momnent when people come together to work on some thing important and forget about all those fast moving ‘things’ that are in their lives.

Hope to see you at my next gathering, on the beach, in the surf or on a bike at a bike workshop.

Will miss you nutty peeps.

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