Orions belt is upside down!
12.11.2007 - 14.11.2007
Got up bright and early at 4am feeling excited and awake. I slept really well being on my own even though I was in a tent. Woke up to the sound of dingos howling in the distance and a crazy old Dutch lady singing to wake up her crowd. The morning stars were really clear, I found Venus, the Southern Cross and a shooting star. Even found Orion's Belt even though it was upside down.
As we drove to Uluru, the light was just starting to spread across the horizon. The rock is strong and fierce in silhouette, it was easy to image the fear the first Aboriginal people would have felt coming across it for the first time. I have enjoyed learning more about the Aboriginal way of life over the last few days. Being close to the rock made the history and culture even more present. The sacred womens' spot where ancient women came to give birth, I found particularly powerful. The thought that so many thousands of ancient lives started in that cave makes you realise why the Aboriginal people hold Uluru in such high regard. We had a talk from Ezichial, a 70 year old Unungu man who told us that they don't want us to climb the rock. He said it is dangerous and for people to die on such a sacred place makes them very sad. It is very true though... we seem to have this need to claim and conquer places we visit but the sense of achievement, as the Unungu said, should come from gaining knowledge about the history and understanding it rather than climbing it and being able to say "I've done the rock!" So what if they believe the rock was created by giant boys playing with stones or that the small rocks falling down were made by the spirit of a snake avenging it's dead nephew. It's their beliefs and none of us can really fault them for believing in crazy stories!
I felt the same when we visited the rainforest last week. This amazing ecosystem where plants and animals cleverly rely on eachother for survival and adapt to use eachother's abilities... I had to ask what part us humans play in it. The answer was, nothing at all. We are utterly pointless and worse, we don't even respect it for what it is! There was a discovery some years back of a tree which has properties capable of curing AIDS. When the scientists discovered this, they sent out teams to collect more, only to find that the area and all of these trees had been cleared for development. To this day, they are yet to find any more of these trees.... Oops!
So... I may be being slightly melodramatic this evening but being at Uluru and Kata Tjuta really made me think about people and made me quite sad for several reasons. However, I have also found myself almost looking forward to being home and back in real life having these images stored in my mind. Even though I didn't manage to capture the perfect sunrise (sorry dad, you'll just have to go yourself!) I still know that I know these places... that's a very good thing.