After reading my last, rather gloomy post you may wonder why I continue to go back to that arid outback land. After this year it’s a good question.
There are a few answers…..
- Beckler’s Botanical Bounty is an interesting, and important, project. When the rains come plants will grow, and we will be able to see what has survived, what may take longer to bounce back. We will collect more so that the Herbarium has material over a range of conditions for scientific research.
- There’s the camaraderie of the artists, friends who share a similar passion.
- There are friends in Menindee too. It’s a little town, but has a strength and resilience.
- The Fella and I have caravanning adventures around these trips, to the Flinders Ranges, the Coorong and places along the Murray River.
- I learn so much, about botany, environmental connections, about geology and geography, and people.
But the main answer is not as easy to encapsulate. It is as far away from the city as it is possible to be; physically and more important, spiritually. It is Big Sky country, stretching as far as you can see, with the blue sky arching overhead.
This photo was taken in 2016. No where near as green now, but the horizon still stretches away.
And the clouds will take your breath away.
There is peace. I was going to write “quiet”, but the raucous galahs woke me up at sunrise every morning. However, you get my point. For over a week I can be in a place with no traffic, no TV, no radio but very good coffee! At night it seems like just the kangaroos and me are still awake.
At night the stars stretch across the sky. I miss them back in the city.
But the real magic of the place is morning and evening. My Mum taught me to love the light of those times. It is soft and pink and glowing, or yellow and pink and brash, but always beautiful.
There must be hundreds of photos of sunsets at Copi Hollow, the lake we camp beside, and I have at least half of them!
And the morning light, when a fresh, new day is appearing, and anything is possible.
It’s an ancient land, a powerful land, that gets into my soul and makes me want to return.
You can tell from my last post that I found the effect of the drought very distressing. But I can return to the comfort of the big city, with water on tap and no stock to water and feed. People living in those places cannot escape the conditions, and I admire their courage and determination to stay. But they need help. Below are some organisations that were suggested to me by people in Menindee. If you wish to donate, there are many fine organisations helping those in need. These ones may reach a little closer to Menindee.
You may have heard of the iconic Royal Flying Doctor Service. They do more than fly patients from remote locations to hospitals, although that is a vital service. Their mental health services would be very necessary in these times, and maybe a reason to donate.
The Country Women’s Association is another iconic organisation of the bush. They are famous for their scones, but they also provide disaster relief. Families can apply for help with household bill, schooling needs and so on.
Lastly, the TAFE in Menindee was fundraising for Buy a Bale. You can choose to buy hay for stock, water, fuel for transportation or even hampers from local supermarkets for farming families.
(A donation or not, to these organisations or not, is entirely up to you. Thank you for even considering.)
Soon I will write about some arty things I have been up to. In the mean time you can subscribe to my fortnightly Letter from my Studio, and find out more about my art. You get a free feather drawing too!