Monday 9 June 2008


Australia is old, you can feel its bones beneath your feet, see the skin and sinew of the soil stretched across the shoulder of the horizon. Long dead volcanoes had lain a layer of basalt across the broad plateau, and millenia of erosion had worn a web of deep valleys through it.

Once upon a time a young man sat on a boulder atop a mesa and gazed westward over the flat top hills towards the setting sun. Below him on the left, at the bottom of a steep ravine, flowed the river Colliban, and to the right Spring Gully creek. Storm clouds were blowing towards him, black and ominous. Between him and the sunset the rain began to fall in billowing curtains, and shafts of gold and rainbow light radiated across the land.

Down in the valley a pair of kookaburras laughed at some private joke, while magpies warbled a song of longing to each other in red gums on the ridge. A flock of pink and grey galahs screeched southward toward the shelter of the bush, the sunset edging their feathers in gold.

Suddenly lightning flashed, a bolt of fire that reached from the clouds to the earth, the burning passion of the heavens reaching out for his beloved. The young man could smell the rain like perfume on the breeze that caressed his cheek and ran its fingers through his hair. Unbidden a tear rolled down his cheek to lay a gentle, salty kiss upon his lips. His senses tingled and his heart swelled. Here, alone with the world, he was less lonely than he had ever felt, filled with a sense of belonging. He was a witness to, no, a part of these forces of nature, nature aware of itself, experiencing itself and saying "I AM". No judgemental eyes to look down on him, no nagging voices telling him who he should or should not be. He was home.

The sun has risen and set every day since the earth began. There had never been a sunset exactly like this before, there never would be again. Each day is a precious and unrepeatable jewel in the passage of time, each hour, each moment a treasure that enriches our lives.

My life has been a journey of discovery, my work has been an attempt to give form to the passion that the beauty of this world has filled me with.

The hills and mountains of Japan are young, still buxom and vital in their youth. Their slopes are covered in lush forests, and rice paddys stretch wet and shining around their feet. I watched the sun set behind the mountains of Nikko today from my front yard, as a thunderstorm rolled across the rice fields. A lone heron winged silently across the valley, as the sun slowly faded behind a cloud band, an orange smudge on the grey canvas of the summer sky. In my hand I have a goblet of australian merlot, and my family wait for me in my home, for they are my home.

I remember the young man who came down from the mesa so long ago, not as if it were yesterday, but as if it were today. Every sound and touch, fragrance and flavour, every mote of light still lingers inside me. As I walk back to the house I carry him inside myself, along with all the other memories of the man or boy I was on other days. And I will carry today along also into the undiscovered future that awaits me and it gives me hope, for there will always be beauty waiting for me to find it, and passion left to share. I can feel it in my very bones.

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