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Dear Biddy,

The benefits of rain on our dry land are always appreciated where I live. Unlike your Emerald Isle, the colour wheel of ochre from rusty reds through to glowing yellows and warm oranges lie in wait to have their cup overflowing with the primary ingredient of life. The landscape somehow still finds a way to be alive. And the colours contrast with one another – I love how they are brought to life on the canvas of the desert and the canvasses in the desert! The Aboriginal artists who share their dreaming and stories in paintings provide some guidance to me to see that is in the landscape that they see – the plants, the animals and the stars.   This week a friend is working on a film in the outback deep in the heart of red sand territory and each day she is treating us with beautiful photos of smiling faces, broken down cars, blue skies and lots of red. She has been sharing the young and old working at their bushcraft and art and through her lens letting us peek into the fullness of creation that the landscape reveals.

The rains sweep away the season and herald the winter and the heaters are on, an extra layer of clothes and the first soups have been made and eaten. A time to turn inwards. Yet all the photos I been seeing from the centre are on the outside, under the sky and the twinkle of the stars are echoed in the gleam of the eyes of the young and old. This is my country – it is an inside outside job and an outside inside one too! To retreat inside is to go outside and let the trees and the moon and the creatures that abound to soak into you. To retreat outside is an inner journey. Both paths the pilgrimage.

Holding the inner and the outer together is a pas de deux for a solo dancer. Unpicking each of the steps that are being taken and watching where I put my feet and my gaze is a journey all of its own. Looking to the sounds of the landscape to provide a melody and to the seasons to provide the rhythm can be fun in the rain as I dash to the car to avoid getting wet or equally walk slowly to have an experience of being saturated. The physical experience of a sore back is invitational equity; to move in a certain way to feel more or less pain will bring a lesson nevertheless.

Alice Springs

Alice Springs

Both the desert and the plain, the winter and the warm, invite and delight.