how does one begin to write about such an odys- sey, an adventure of epic proportions? in the words of author anne lamott (or, to be more precise,those of her dad), i'll do it "bird by bird". or picture by picture, face by face, heart by story by word.
allow me to introduce you to a sweetheart of a friend, robyn longeley. when i first met robyn, she had traveled all the way to cortona, italy, along with jacky mcfarland, to take my workshop back in the fall of 2006. robyn was there in perth last year, and this year there at the airport in perth the morning i flew in (after having been en route for a good 36 hours). after taking care of lost luggage concerns (is it possible for me to make a trip without it being lost?), we hit the road and drove south 3 1/2 hours to the margaret river wine region, where we stayed for two nights at this lovely cottage in the coastal town of dunsborough.
from there, the next morning, we headed down to various spots (all of them gorgeous) along the southwestern australia coastline. i don't even know how to go about choosing the photos to share with you; i'm stymied by this, but do not want to get so bogged down that i end up not sharing at all.
imagine a country that is beautiful around each twist and turn in the road. imagine flora far different than anything you've seen (or maybe you have, i don't know, but what i saw was out of my world), and birdcall that sounded like a scene from tarzan or peewee's big adventure, maybe, or something completely unnamed. for two days robyn and i traveled and drove/rode the back roads over hills, around bends, past dead (alas) kangaroos and quite a few real ones hopping along as if they didn't notice the oncoming cars (hence, the dead ones, i suppose) or most likely did not care. this was their country before we came along, and i'd like to think it still is. so would they.
through it all, i faithfully, diligently maintained an art journal, something that became my beloved constant companion - a touchstone from home, a reminder of the who and where, the why. before i left, i selfishly asked misty if she would be able to find the time to constuct one for me - from scratch; i can't believe now that i asked (but am ever so glad that i did), and i'll never know how she managed to scrape together the hours to complete the gorgeous cover and background pages for me in spite of her time at asilomar so soon after the swirl of artfest. thank you, thank you misty, for doing this for me (i'll be sharing shots of the journal here and there throughout my upcoming posts). the photo below is of the first pages being completed as i sat at the cottage table on the coast while robyn mapped out our itinerary.
all too soon, it was time to head to bansia lodge outside of dwellingup, the beautiful rural setting where my weeklong book of trees workshop was to be held. we arrived in the dark of night - and believe me, out in the bush, dark is dark, and back dirt roads were not particularly well marked for the lodge. robyn and i walked into the house where the rest of the gals were already gathered with wine and cheese, and we enjoyed telling stories of what we'd seen and done. goodness. i realize how much i've already left out... here below is simon, the lovely lovely young man we met in the karri forest (full of tall, tall eucalyptus trees, blue wrens - yes, blue - black cockatiels, and many other birds that we called on simon to identify). i neglected to tell you how the air there in the old forest smelled of rich, loamy things, of water and air and moist shadows. how the birdsong seemed to echo. how it all felt like an other worldly dream. and let me show you the beautiful rocky coastline of cape leeuwin, the most southwesterly tip of the continent of australia; it is here that the great indian and southern oceans collide. i have to say, i felt quite noble, standing where such grand waters meet and join as one.
i woke up the next morning to new and beautful sights, things i'd not seen when we'd wearily arrived in the dark of the previous evening. autumn leaves on trees were vibrantin rich color; grass was as green as what i left in the springtime mountains of home; heavy dew made all things brightly shimmer and shine in the early morning sun.
with cup of treasured lapsong souchong in hand, i sat myself down at a table handhewn from a solid slab of jarrah from the bush, and wrote another page in my sturdy, silent companion. and that, my friends, is where i'll leave you until the story continues...xx