Flying Back West (July 2014)

How many times have I crisscrossed this country?

I love long flights. I love long train trips and drives too but right now I’m in the air again.

Above the world, separate from real life. Suspended in time and space.

Needless fussing limited by battery life and baggage space.

 

I finish reading Josh Santospirito & Craig San Roque’s ‘Long Weekend in Alice Springs’ about cultural complexes.

 

By Joshua Santospirito from 'Long Weekend in Alice Springs'

Illustration by Joshua Santospirito from ‘Long Weekend in Alice Springs’

 

I remember Joseph Campbell’s commonalities between myths across cultures, Baba Brinkman’s exploration of Darwin’s Origin of Species through rap, Vonnegut’s humanism, Freakonomics and a bunch of other half absorbed ideologies.

I put down on paper thoughts that aren’t new or revolutionary but are discoveries or remembrances of a stimulated brain.

 

photograph of clouds

From thirty thousand feet in a floating metal bubble through a tiny window I watch the clouds and the colours below them and wonder how many people really know how red and big and beautiful this land really is.

Below are big messy brushstrokes of red painted into the black scrub leaving waves of sand dunes exposed. Rivers carving snakes and tree root shapes. The spinifex and scrub dotting the plains, patterns of red and sometimes yellow or a white salt pan and rocky outcrops standing solitary, little mountain islands pushed up from the seabed. This was underwater once. Patterns made by wind and rain and ocean and long forgotten grumbling lava pushing and grinding

 

Slowly

 

Over thousands and millions and millions of years

Silently slowly moving, yawning, breathing, crackling, bubbling

 

Even now

But so slowly and quietly and alone

And with such little fuss

That no one would ever know except scientists and storytellers

Stories that have been dreamt and sung and danced and painted and known and kept and sometimes told and taught

Stories that make sense of it. Of the country. Of the people. Not just this country, but all countries.

Stories that become myths or rituals or texts

All requiring faith that there was once more than just us and flora, fauna, fire, water, wind and rock

All creating each other, shaping each others’ evolution

We once made sense of things with stories

Stories to make meaning

Of how the earth was formed and where we came from

Of how to live our lives, of why we’re here, what to avoid and aspire to, what to hope for and fear

Stories about sex and death, flight and fight, fear and love

Astronomy, physics, maths, psychology, geology, anatomy, economics, sociology, art, philosophy tell these same stories as we keep searching until we can explain

 

Everything

 

I haven’t yet decided what to believe. Other than science. And stories.

 

central australia

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