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A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 4

[Return to Author List, Vol 4]

Fay O'Neill

 

A Journey to the Outback

Crossing countless miles of dry lands and desert plains we travel ever westward. I say miles, because the only change here is the seasons, and ‘kilometres’ is one of those words that fits neither the feeling of eternal time nor the immense landscape. We come to crests of hills where space too great to be measured reaches out to a rim where the earth’s surface seemingly meets the sky.

horizons—
hazy limits
of vision

Gradually without realising it, the distraction of modern suburban life, and the absence of noise that accompanies it, fades from our minds. The further we travel the more the isolation forces us to look with appreciation at the inner beauty of this great outback.

Gaps between boulders frame a picture of a vast wilderness of rolling hills and valleys. Clouds form a moving mosaic of dark shadows and textures on the red earth as waves of heat shimmer and dance across the plains. Over this arena desert breezes whisk and dry soil into spirals of ghostly dancers

dust—
whipped into whirlwinds
vanishes in puffs

Leaving the safely of our vehicle we trek over this wide land and marvel at its incredible age, at the same time experiencing a powerful intangible feeling of an indomitable spirit watching and waiting with a quiet endless patience.

The highlight of our day is making camp early in the evening and watching the glorious sunset paint clouds the colour of blood before turning to hues of soft grays, bright pinks and finally beautiful blues rimmed with gold. It is a time of exodus when animal and bird life sensing the end of daylight seek the shelter and safety of their nightly abodes.

sunset—
in perfect ‘v’ formation
birds wing home

After these natural wonders, of colour abundance and boisterous energy, an eerie feeling of stillness and complete isolation steals over the land then with the unhurriedness of the outback night slowly envelopes us in a black silky curtain.

twilight—
melding shadows thickening
nightfall

Our fire casts a mellow glow and dimly illuminates the rocky outcrops beside our camp. It occurs to me the vastness of the outback has been shut out and we are safely cocooned within this circle of golden light in an aura of peace.

flames—
silhouette figures
around campfire

We talk on into the night, happy to sit and enjoy each other’s company and breathe in the cool scent of clear fresh air. Occasionally, across the diamond studded sky a star flashes, crashing through the velvety darkness like a silver arrow. We make a wish.

[Return to Author List, Vol 4 ]

 


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