Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Elders walk to the Gardens of Stone

The yatra for the elders in our community took place last Sunday in windy conditions. Despite that, the group opted to walk along the ridge- top at Newnes plateau, trusting me when I said that the destination was rather good. "But be mindful of each and every step!"

We had the good fortune to have Donald Elniff on the walk with us. We did tai ch'i with him in a clearing beside a huge old tree. It was a skilful way in to Broad Mind, the mind that is spread right across the body. And to be taught moves such as 'flowing over a waterfall' ( I think that's right) , and to be centred in the dan t'ien, helped to locate us right where we were, in Mingaan country.

I found this track with the help of my good friend Kate Litchfield (below).
It is discouraging to see the degradation caused by trailbikers on this ridge. The tracks weave in and out, and the rubbish carelessly tossed aside is an indicator of the lack of genuine connection to the land - it is only there for your recreational pleasure. Ok - that's my rave - I could also say that I experienced aversion and a hot series of thoughts when I saw the damage.
But then there is also this rusted twisted fender, some decades later...

So many delights along the way; I think I saw a flame robin.
and I loved the rivulets running down the road.

What else can I add? It was a terrific group of people. Other animals had been trotting along the road too, as we saw from the tracks and prints in the sandy soil. Perhaps dingos - a kangaroo - a large lyrebird, with its distinctive back claw print.

Oh - another total joy - pagoda daisies.

There are some very good websites which can show you some of the longer yatras that have taken place in Australia. Try, and have a look at the art works which have been inspired by the walks. Also have a look at About Yatra, Carol Perry's piece is a clear explanation of what we are connecting with when we walk silently and mindfully with each other, in country. At the dharma gathering ( see for the link) she leads a yatra to the beach.
Here is the link to the Encounter programme on ABC Radio National, which featured yours truly and my collaborator in April, Gary Gach, and others. The subject was Buddhist poetry.

Taking time
to sniff a boronia
I make myself late