under the seeing there lies a dreaming

When travelling to a new place, I try to be mindful in the presence of the land, so that I can experience it more deeply than just walking upon its ground. But time and again I've found that it's only after I've returned home that I'm able to really begin developing a relationship with what I've experienced.

This week I went to a beautiful coastal town and fell almost immediately in love with it. But the love was a simple kind - how I felt about what I was seeing, rather than a sympathy grown from real conversation with the place. I hadn't enough time for that. So I looked hard, with all my heart. And I took photographs, although my camera was malfunctioning and they all came out wrong. And then I went home. A few days late, the understory of the land raised at last to meet me. I was hundreds of miles away at that stage ... but then, I don't really believe there is a distance that exists in the Dreaming beneath things.

Now I have two layers of experience to hold in my memory. One involves old-fashioned bicycles; clean harbour waters striated with white boat masts and scented with the rust and muck of fishing boats (which I don't hate, having been a fisherman's daughter); chocolate lamington cake with cream; rare birds; lenticular clouds enchanting the sky in the hours before a wild storm; misreading the map and taking the straightforward road, only to learn that was wrong and returning gratefully to a half-wild, quiet ambleway; dreaming mountains; a brief whispering rain ...

And the other tells me of a woman in the weedy water, dragging mud-dreams on the hem of her fog-coloured dress as she wades towards the east and the memory of the sea; wild birds that once were something scaled, taloned, amongst the roots of mountains, but now scoop light and magic from the sky and cry it out in flashes of sound that suddenly illuminate the earth-walker's heart; a troll squatting lonely beneath a bridge, throwing out wishes that take unexpected shape as orange flowers amongst the reeds; the call of something nameless that swims into the harbour every dawn then slips away again sadly, unheard ...

I only stayed a little while in that coastal town, but its watery, wind-wiped, muddy, melancholic old magic will linger like a bog-puddle, a smell of fish, a wish for mountain secrets, in my heart for always..


  1. Thank you but as you can see my camera has gone quite wonky and everything came out a mess. I got maybe two focussed photos out of over a hundred. Still, I was lucky to see such beauty in the first place.

  2. i love your descriptions of what lay under the land and water...i think if more people could see into the souls of places, into the poetry of the world, it would be simpler to change our culture of living at the expense of the planet...

  3. Sorry to hear about your camera
    that is no fun when traveling and gathering images and memories
    lovely to consider relationship with places