Up Crackneck Mountain by Colleen Keating

 Up Crackneck Mountain

sometimes it takes sadness loss an empty room
to painfully be aware of presence

sometimes it takes stillness of breath
to remind us to breathe deeply
consciously with gratitude

sometimes it takes silence
to remind us to sing


and find

we did today

our first bush walk since our world changed
and we take time to adjust
to a new life without Pat in our world

an amazing eucalypt stopped us in our tracks
a grand old lady holding forth
fully present
from each angle she commandeered our attention

the light played beautifully along her trunk
adding to her starling presence

colours and tones of nature
especially the scruffy banksia men
trunks, bark, brambles decay
ant-eating bores seed pods
humus of leaf litter
were catching my eye
with a chaotic beauty that satisfied me
still feeling close to the out of control
and sense of rawness that is reality
when we experience the threshold of transition
for it takes time to find
ways to close off and re-protect ourselves

yet the music of birds
the baby wren that flew out
on a branch to greet us
the kookaburras,
the goanna that stayed for a photo
the blue and stunning black butterfly that didn’t stay
a few straggler flannel flowers
reminding us of our lockdown spring walks
where we marvelled at their abundance
and their star-light quality

At the top of Crackneck Mountain
we stopped to have a cuppa and muesli bar
marvelled at the grandeur of the ocean spread out
in all its glory
never ceasing to amaze and delight

we walked down the mountain
taking the outer less worn track
where we were reminded of new life
as fresh lime-green candles of banksia
brightly shone

and young callow sprigs of Xanthorrhoea *
their flounce like ballerinas in their grass shirts
the first breath of wind will have them dancing.





*’Xanthorrhoea’  is the name for what we mostly call the grass tree. It means ‘yellow flow’ in ancient Greek and refers to its resin. This resin was much prized by Aboriginal people, being used as a glue or as a coating/waterproofing material. The early settlers also found it extremely useful, as a glue, a varnish, polish and a coating of tin materials. It was used in the sizing of paper, in soap and perfumery and even in the manufacture of early gramophone records.