Telephone Poles Send Sparks Across the Land

Bundanon Sunrise (4 of 13).jpg

**

Soft stillness of morning light as

Silent shadows watch on –

And not a whisper.

The river rests while

telephone poles send sparks

across the land.

Fizzle and crackle without a breath,

unheard from where I stand,

an intruder who

breaks the repose

for my own selfish desires.

 

Valky-Pie. Or, Man eats Muffin in 200 Frames per Second. Or, “there’s muffin all over the damn floor!”

I don’t want to take up too much of your time today. I simply wish to share me eating a muffin in incredibly slow motion, set to the bombastic, Wagnerian grandeur of Ride of the Valkyries. While you’re at it, take a gander at my good friend Johanis Lyons-Reid’s Vimeo. He was the real brains behind Valky-Pie. All I did was eat the damn muffin.

Live it. Love it. Take a journey.

x

 

Driving

View of Ross-Behy

At a conservative guess, I drove over 1000 km’s in a six day rapid fire tour of Ireland. We rented a car in Dublin. It was a violently orange Mini that duly informed me when to shift gears and powered down whenever I stopped at traffic-lights. The car continually proved smarter than me.

We sped through vast, open farming country, squeezed along tight lanes hemmed in by intricately stacked stone fences, and glided along roads that hugged the Atlantic ocean. It was, to put it mildly, a very brief, very intense introduction to the emerald isles. And I totally loved it.

It rained most of the time. When we headed north from Galway up to Connemara National Park the day started well. We visited an old fort and when the sun shone it was warm and calming. It rained the rest of the day and we spent the afternoon in the national park soaking and buffeted by the wind.

We drove the Ring of Kerry. One of those things you just had to do, so they said. Again, our day began with clear skies and a sun that had a beautiful warmth to it. I took this photo after a slight detour to visit Ross-Behy. Instead of taking the road we’d come in on, we decided for this thin, one lane path that climbed steadily up and over a hill. I was worried we’d meet a car coming the over way, and would have to back up half a kilometer to let them pass, but thankfully, we didn’t come across anyone. Instead, we hopped out near the top and took a moment to look out towards the North Atlantic Ocean opening up like a gaping mouth to our left. The long stretch of sand we’d crunched our way along minutes before trickled off into the distance. The mountains beyond sat in a shroud of low hanging cloud, a portentous nod to the rest of our day’s trip, but one we ignored.

Another detour led us off the Ring and along the smaller Skellig Ring. As the rain fell and the clouds descended, we took refuge in Skelligs Chocolate factory, where we sampled fiery whisky chocolate that settled like a warm delicious lump in your belly. We hoped to catch sight of Skellig Michael, an island just off the coast that housed the remains of an ancient monastic settlement. Unfortunately the world beyond the coast was bathed in thick fog. It would remain a mystery to us.

And that’s how the rest of the trip played out, me squinting through squelching wind-screen wipers at the shrouded road before us, the rain lashing the roof, and the fog hugging us tight on either side. We drove another 200 kilometers without another glimpse of the ocean, through winding roads, caught behind buses that offered their patrons the same homogeneous mass of grey as a view. The Ring of Kerry turned out to be an exercise in cautious driving through low-visibility.

Once we reached Killarney National Park though, the dewy mist wrapping tendrils around the towering trees took on a mystical quality, and we were afforded an unobscured look of Ladies’ View, which is spectacular enough in itself. Hours later, sat stiff legged in our room, both cold and exhausted, we couldn’t help but laugh about the whole day. Our adventure had perhaps been ultimately futile, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to unearth hidden beauty.

Waves

Waves (c) Piri R. Eddy 2015

There’s nothing quite like the push and pull of the ocean for deep reflection and contemplation. For gentle admiration. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that this calm body of water can transform so suddenly into a destructive force. The ocean is truly one of the more fascinating of life’s paradoxes. If we did indeed stumble from its frothy depths in a primordial ooze, the ocean has continued to provide us with sustenance and deep intrigue.

And yet in an instant it can resolve to wipe us clean off the map.

To bring us back home to our beginnings.

x

Scotland and The Cobbler

The Cobbler

Scotland is often characterised by rugged and expansive mountains; lands pimpled by rock and rising earth. It is a land that feels living, albeit a life stretched out over millennia. Each undulating breath might take a thousand years. To stand on top of its many peaks is to stand on its chest, stretched and expanded, with a great gulp of ancient air.

I only spent a week in Scotland. Three nights in the medieval wonder of Edinburgh, and a further three north of Glasgow, in Garelochhead. We travelled by train past the glittering Loch Lomond for an hour, the largest of its kind in Great Britain. Once we arrived in Garelochhead we quickly realised our accommodation was an hour walk uphill, and along a winding country road. We hugged the trees as best we could. quietly thankful for the clear light and the clear sky.

Our accommodation was a bed and breakfast, with the lake in view, and owned by a couple who ran the place on their days off. The common room doubled as a restaurant, and was a jumble of joke licence-plates, tea cosy’s, and decorative flags. The owners were generous and kind, but you got the sense they were still learning the trade. They were more interested in striking up a conversation than ensuring the plates they served food on were entirely clean, but I wasn’t complaining. A grubby fork was unlikely to kill me, although it’s probably killed someone before. Never mind.

We climbed The Cobbler with the weather caught in two minds. When the clouds closed ranks and the wind picked up we’d shiver underneath our jumpers, but when the sun was out you’d smile to the light and start to prickle sweat.

The Cobbler is 884 metres above sea-level at its peak, not the most impressive in height, but its unique shape and setting makes it visually striking. Once you clear the first part of the ascent, which includes a short walk through a sparse pine forest, the land gives way to an expanse of long grass. Further along stands The Cobbler, rising suddenly and sharply from the earth.

We climbed The Cobbler in a few hours. A river ran snakelike and lively down the sloping plains. We spent time amongst boulders slick with algae, the water rushing beneath us.

The path was busy near the peak. We weren’t the only ones scaling the mountain. You passed others with a nod and a smile, and once we arrived at the base of The Cobbler, it was a winding pathway picking our way over loose stones and wet, muddy earth.

The top of The Cobbler offered spectacular views. The type that makes the arduous slog to the top completely worthwhile. On one side lay the flat, gleaming lakes far below, cutting like a sharp knife through the valley. On the other side of The Cobbler, the land bubbled away with hills and mountains ad infinitum.

Staring out across the edge of the summit, you could see Scotland breathing, an interminably slow motion, the wind whipping your face, standing on the very skin of that great, wild place. Your only wish would be that you could be there for much, much longer.

The Cobbler view

Home

Adelaide beachI come from Adelaide. It’s the capital of South Australia, but you’d be forgiven for thinking it runs at a slower pace than your average city. A big country town, that’s what some people say about it.

The Winters are wet and cold, the Summers often punishing. Adelaide experienced one of many heat waves a few years ago where the mercury refused to dip below 35 for over 15 days. Last year, we had 11 days over 40 degrees Celsius. While the folk of Adelaide are temperate by nature, sometimes its more the weather that dictates the slow pace of life. In scorching heat, your body can’t face the world in any other way.

I think my home town is beautiful. It has been home for most of my life. My experiences overseas hasn’t changed that feeling, but I’ll be the first to say its not yet reached its potential, that it could be so much more. Maybe its just the fact that I have called this place home for so long that I don’t recommend it to travelers so quickly. After all, it doesn’t have the same striking landmarks as Melbourne or Sydney.

But it still experiences moments of serene beauty. South Australia is characterised by its natural landscape, by the unforgiving and tangled outback, the dirt and the hot earth, but also by its breathtaking coast. The land here is important, and it always has been. The Indigenous people of Australia knew that importance, they lived their lives by it.

I took this shot at a local Adelaide city beach. The place was calm, and although the weather was changing and the air was electric with a coming lightning storm, this moment of peacefulness could still exist. As the sun slowly set, everyone sat and watched, caught up in that moment. And right then, there couldn’t be any better place to be than in Adelaide.