Critical, creative and digital writingEcriture critique, créative et numérique

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06 06 2014  

06 June

0552 – Windjana Gorge National Park: Car

The night is finally over. The sun has decided to turn up. It's been a long night. I was cold. I was unable to be comfortable, always shifting position. I must have woken up half a dozen times, which means my sleep has not been as restorative as expected. But I don't feel tired right now. I feel like going to Geikie Gorge and then drive as fast as I can to Broome. It is dawn. The birds of prey are shrieking and soaring above the campground. They're probably waiting for the right animal to pop out of its burrow. With the sun the world comes alive. David Abram was right; the sun is indeed part of the environment. And more generally, so is time. The campers around have started to get up and do what they have to do. Dawn is a beautiful moment. Everything is tainted with this warm reddish-pinkish color. it is also a moment of renewal, where things get out of their torpor and start moving around, resuming their daylight life. In the bush, all this is more manifest. There's no wall to block the light, no window and no glass to block sound. You seem to be more directly embedded in nature. Though this is just an impression, it is quite strong. I can better understand why some have trouble not dissociating built and natural environments now. There is a clear difference in the way you experience them. I'm waiting for the sun to come up. Then I'll head outside the park towards Fitzroy Crossing. I'm hoping to get to Broome directly after visiting the Geikie Gorge. I don't want to rough it anymore alone in my freezing car with no blanket or pillow, just my own naivety at thinking I could be comfortable in a 4WD. Perhaps I should have gotten myself a tent and a sleeping bag. Well, you can't foresee everything. A dozen birds are soaring above the camping car in front of me. It makes me think that in the bush, you need to look up for birds. They know more about country than a non-initiated might imagine. This reminds of Carpentaria, and how Normal Phantom observes the patterns of seagulls to track the arrival of a storm. Or A Discovery of Strangers, where the ravens/crows are signs of a dead caribou. Most of the time, a bird will lead you to food, but beware of the Trickster, for they have a peculiar sense of humor too.

1634 – Cable Beach

What a day! It involved going from Windjana Gorge to Broome via Fitzroy Crossing. I spent most of my day driving, and when I was not, I was walking. The 4km of the Geikie Gorge were particularly disappointing, mostly because the trail was sandy and the bush was ugly, sort of. Though the rock formations were nice, overall it was not a very interesting location. I was more impressed by the route I took to get to Fitzroy Crossing. The landscape was beautiful, and the road itself quite jumpy. At one point I thought I would be attacked by a ferocious bull. What this trip through the bush made me realise is the size of Australia. The Kimberley are pure sheerness! It made me think about the size of Aboriginal countries. How much territory does country encompass? How long would it take to cross one from one end to the other? Driving through the Kimberley, I couldn't get a sense of all that. But walking in the bush in Windjana and Geikie gorges made me realise how difficult, tiring and tedious it is, especially when it is in the heat of day. No wonder these poor English/European explorers had such a hard time doing any "discovery". But wanting to "make distance" is a very modern concept, I guess. What matters, when you live in this region is how much time it "consumes" to travel from A to B. Surely it cannot have been the same thing with Aboriginal peoples. When your life is travel, distance/space is not a commodity, but a way of life. I'm having a difficult time imagining it sensorily. I'm too rooted in a modern life that doesn't give time and space enough credit.

1846 – Hostel in Broome

I might have been arrogant the other day. I've surely been judgmental. I had a naïve vision of my trip. I guess I was being idealistic, Into-the-Wildish. I had a narrow focus on my trip. Everything that would focus my attention away from my goal, I saw as an interference. I think I was slightly off here. I'm having a good time socializing, but most of all, I need peace-of-mind in order to write. I can't write while I travel. "Recollection in tranquility", the Romantic one said.

2010 – Hostel in Broome

I just had a nice time talking to my two dorm mates Karina and Nadine. They're so young. It make me wonder: was I ever so naïve? Our autobiographical self seems to be composed like a narrative: as a sequence of events that ultimately form a continuous thread of life. Viewing this sequence from the last point in time is biased by the very fact that your autobiographical self is a sequence. Still, I sort of feel old hanging out with these 19-and-20-year-old girls from Germany. This all makes me think about our environment as human beings. If the past, crystallised in memory, influences our actions, could it be said that the autobiographical self is part of the core self's environment? Are my memories part of the circumstances that allow me to live and survive and interact? Yes! Ultimately, this means that to consciousness, the body is an environment as much as the physical surroundings are. Consciousness is but the emergence of the Self in the process of organism-environment. Well I knew that already. This is an important step towards better understanding the Self though. If the Self's environment is both the body's memories and the environmental characteristics, it seems that we need to start thinking four-dimensionally about "being". I guess it would be hard to implement, though it's only guesswork here.