One of the things I love about being out in nature is how the same place can show so many different faces, depending on its mood at the time. Think of a beach on a lazy summer evening, when the sea breeze has calmed to a whisper and the last of the orange sun glistens off the water as breakers tumble in, inviting you to splash and dive in their healing playground. Then think of the same beach on a blustery winter’s day, with a sharp southerly wind whipping the ocean into a foamy whitewash, as seagulls squawk and struggle against the bitter wind, and an icy rain stings your face as you lean into the gale, hands in jacket pockets and eyes squinted.
I love both these scenes. Not for me is the complaining about the ‘bad weather’ any time it dares to rain. Give me variety. Give me roaring wind, give me thunderstorms, give me a week-long soaking. Give me a hot westerly, a cold southerly, give me sunny cicada-drenched heatwaves. Lay it all on me and let me notice and appreciate it all.
|Different times of day can reveal different moods. Sunset near Lucky Bay, WA.|
On that Barrington Tops trip I had the chance to see a couple of different places in a couple of different moods...
On the way up the scarp there was a gap in the trees enabling a view over a deep valley whose curves and clefts wound around, their dense green walls rolling off into the distance. I sat to rest and admire the blissful view.
On the descent two days later I passed the same place. A grey mist shrouded the landscape. I could see the shadowy outlines of two or three of the nearest trees but apart from that, nothing. A mysterious blank slate. The only thing moving in the smothering stillness was the mist itself, gently wafting up towards me. From within came the melancholic screech of a single black cockatoo, like the Australian kin of Middle Earth's Nazgul. Better move on, I thought, before I'm turned to stone to pass the ages locked in stillness.
A sunny afternoon lying on the grass by a bright bubbling creek. Hiking boots were off and feet dipped in the water in the afternoon warmth, as I read and dozed, listening to birds call and leaves rustle.
In the morning I woke up and saw my breath coming in thick clouds. The tent was covered in a thin layer of crackly ice, the grass was frosted white. As I waited for the water to boil I did star jumps to warm up. The sun finally emerged and glistened off the icy landscape, bringing the promise of life after all.
|Warm afternoon campsite|
|The creek in afternoon sun|
|Icy morning view|