If there is a God, my guess is that God has no other option but to be fairly pissed off with us humans.
“I send you to my wondrous Earth and you spend your allotted life of 70 or so years warring among yourselves over who I am. Instead of witnessing the grandeur that took me 4.5 billion years to create, you squabble about money and other trite issues and, somehow, seem to derive pleasure in destroying this home I’ve created for you. Therefore, my most important commandment to you two legged creatures is to drive out of your shopping malls, not the money changers, but yourselves and explore my stunning world before you return to the star dust from whence you came and float for eternity, yet again, in the vastness of my universe.”
When I received the latest issue of EarthLines this week — an ecoliterature magazine published in the UK — I was pleasantly surprised to see there was an article based on a winning author’s two week residency at Lake St. Clair National Park, courtesy of being the recipient of the 2009 Wildcare Tasmanian International Nature Writing Prize. Along with the residency, $5,000 and a return airfare, the opportunity here is for a nature writer to bear witness to the particular beauty of this small section of the earth. God would be happy.
Initially, I was a bit bemused that the author never seemed to have left the “parking lot”, so to speak, for what she wrote about all centered around her walks near the Visitors’ Centre; the sort of short walks tourists for a day would partake in. Sort of like going to Hobart for two weeks and only writing about the Botantical Gardens there; beautiful though they are.
Had she, at least, taken the ferry to the far end of Lake St. Clair? Having been there several times (see above photo) I can attest that the depth, richness, diversity and immense grandeur of the area just simply cannot be felt or even seen around the Visitors’ Centre.
Lost opportunity if she didn’t venture out too far? Maybe. But, maybe not.
Firstly, I’ve had 29 years to explore my state of Tasmania and there are still areas I “should have” visited by now. Have I not also spent too many days squabbling over money and other trite issues instead of finding the time to see every thing of beauty in my own backyard?
Secondly, what does “backyard” mean? Relative to an international visitor, is my backyard all of Tasmania? Or, just what the word implies: a tiny plot of land next to one’s own house?
“There are a thousand ways to knell and kiss the ground”, a wise person once said. Maybe, like the above author did, I only have to stumble out of my abode to experience deep transformative beauty rich in significance.
To have a closer look at my own backyard, and to see if there was something that held the proverbial “universe in a grain of sand”, I set out on an extremely short venture of no more than a few steps.
Just outside the front door entrance is a sprawling prostrate shrub presently in flower, kuniza ambigua. A nice, small carpet of white flowers whose perfume is more impressive than its flattened appearance.
Bending down on knees and with magnifying glass in hand, I got up close and personal and discovered a whole other world of startling beauty.
I think I’ll spend two weeks here.