This last weekend, I let myself walk along the hills of the Great Dividing Trail in central Victoria. Old goldfields country. Some of the path cuts through spindly eucalypt forests, where echidnas were probing the dry clay for just one more ant. Some of the path passes rolling hills and farmlands, waiting now for the autumn rains…
As I walked, I kept experiencing that weird “two places in one moment” feeling. It’s not déjà vu, and it’s not in any way a premonition. It’s just a sense that I am in two landscapes simultaneously.
It often happens to me when I walk.
At the weekend, I was beside those fields you can see in the photo up above, and I was also out on the meseta in northern Spain. Dry clear air. A wind at my back. Golden light. And the memory of how, when I actually walked the meseta, I had felt myself to be in Australia as I plodded.
It was a kind of double palimpsesto. Layers underwriting layers of experience. Layers overwriting layers of memory. Odd, but reassuring. And in Spain, a land where there are so many stories underfoot, from so many centuries of questing souls, maybe it is to be expected.
There are stories carved and hacked into the earth here, too. There are songs that sing low on the whispers of breezes that find me between tree trunks.
We are opposites, Spain and Australia, in so many ways. But we are also mirrors.
My heart seeks the similarities. So do my eyes.
Look at this and see if you don’t too…
Walk well, wherever you are. And keep your ears peeled for stories.
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