Wandering Thoughts

December 22, 2008


Filed under: Going Places — terence @ 8:30 pm
Tags: , ,

Paint peeled by the sun and wood warped from the damp, the Border Store youth hostel was worn out. Dilapidated. Almost empty.  Dust and thread-bare carpet, pulled apart paperback books. Tables without chairs and couches that gave up, exhausted, under your weight. The only other guest was an Italian biologist, Cristina.

She spoke hardly any English and me not a word of Italian. So we patched together conversations with Spanish, patience and slow careful phrases. But long before we’d climbed to the top of Ubirr we’d run out of words. And as the sun began to set we sat in silence, warmed by the heat radiating out of the giant old stone and looking out to the view.

Even if we’d been able to talk we wouldn’t. Set out in front of us a patchwork plain of swaying grass and bursts of trees took on colour. Fading with the heat that kept them swirling, giant dust devils performed their last pirouettes. They snaked and bent, eddies of warmth that sucked red dust high into the softening sky.

At the end of the view was the Escarpment, a long line of cliffs stretched out across the horizon. In the wet season it becomes a giant waterfall flooding the Kakadu. Drowning the roads and freeing the Crocs from the billabongs. For now though, it sat dry and quite. All the more beautiful in that evening light because it marked off somewhere I absolutely couldn’t go, the end of the road; the beginning of indigenous-Australian Arnhem Land.


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