Another weekend. Another segment of the Dreaming Track*. Another surprise.
Last time I walked this bit of the track from Gray Rocks to Mullimburra, it was some years ago through bee-buzzing tea-trees with my friend Rosemary. Today the beginning of the track is drab, although buds promise future glory. It’s paved with casuarina needles and lumpy with casuarina roots, astonishingly thick given the spindliness of the casuarinas themselves.
Everything is light and shadow, anathema to the camera. So I tackle a few closeups that turn out far better than I expected: a bit of old man’s beard in the fork of a dead casuarina branch, and the tiny brush-like female flower of the casuarina.
We walk beside a creek-bed, dry except for a large grey puddle.
Then J spots a eucalypt through the bush up the hill and sets off in pursuit. I dawdle on, remember he’s forgotten his phone (and the drama I caused when I stopped walking and lay down on a sand hill a few weeks ago), and turn back to join him, watching my feet as I stumble through lomandra, fallen branches and hunks of rock. I spot his blue jumper and find him sitting on a log, contemplating a grove of huge Eucalyptus tereticornis (forest red gum), at least two hundred years old at best guess. They twist their ancient branches, shed their bark and gleam grey and apricot in the midday light. We eat lunch cogitating how we could describe their beauty (and their characteristics) in a few sure lines, Picasso-in-words.
The trees by the track are more modest in size and age and they dance a corroboree of delight.
The walk ends with a water view, down to Cathedral Rock.
That is Saturday’s walk. On Sunday we return to the grove of forest red gums, ostensibly to find J’s specs which he’s lost somewhere, but more likely just to enjoy these monuments of nature again. We continue on, this time through casuarina forest: trunks, male flower, roots and needles all providing visual pleasures.
A tiny bell-like flower on a spiky bush catches my eye, and a hakea already budding
We pass an old dam and other traces of farming days, and then we’re at the ocean and a lagoon backing up beyond the sandbar, with traces of the sea evident amongst the rocks and sea grass.
A hardy casuarina has rooted itself in the rock, reclining comfortably and thriving, within cooee of the sea.
Behind the sandhills on a sidetrack on the way back to the car our final forest redgum for the weekend – and for a while. Next weekend will be full-on preparation for the arrival of Warsaw: nailing down errant boards on the deck; washing every bit of bedding I possess; spraying the yard with pyrethrum for ticks; restringing the clothesline. With Potato Point beach walks interspersed. And an omelette for any collaborators!
* Dreaming tracks or Song Lines link places visited by Aboriginal people: the Bingi Dreaming track links campsites, ceremonial and trade sites, fresh water and plentiful coastal food sources. We’re following in the footsteps of the Brinja-Yuin people as we walk the track section by section (it’s 13.5 kilometres one way), returning day after day to enter it at a different point, to cover new territory and to revisit a few favourites: trees, and a pathway or two.