13 December 2010

Desert wandering

I caught a lift from Winton with an electrician named Joel, on his way to Cloncurry to drop off a trailer. I’d woken up at 5am to beat the heat and catch the early traffic. Along the way I found myself staring into the distant horizon, hypnotized by the geometry of the land. The sky goes on forever and the land is cut in half by the road, which disappears into the distance. Staring down that long gray line – towards infinity – has a hypnotic effect. It’s a larger space for your mind to dwell in, conducive to larger thoughts, longer sequences of imagination, deeper reflection. Joel wasn’t much into talking, so we sat in silence, my mind wandering, nodding off to sleep occasionally and waking to find little change in the landscape.

I stayed one night in Cloncurry, drank for a while with some truckies and miners, and woke up early again the next morning to hit the road. Only two cars went past before Ben pulled over. He was a postal contractor from Alice Springs who was on his way back from Brisbane in a van he had hired to help with the Christmas load. We talked a little, but once again I found the desert views affecting my thoughts and I drifted in and out of sleep, my mind wandering across the landscape, settling nowhere in particular.

The scenery changed only gradually over those two days, as green gave way to red in tiny increments…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YOUR WRITING REALLY DOES MAKE THE READER 'SEE' THE LANDSCAPE. HAVING BEEN IN A SIMILAR NT AREA I CAN ALMOST SMELL THE DUST. HOW HOT IS IT?