I once lay face down, naked, on fractured, flat rock up on Twin Falls escarpment in Kakadu.
Eyes closed, I felt the fissures, the cracks, the ripples and smooths with my hands. It was sensuous, alive. It was me, solid and deep, deep into the earth. I felt such love.
I once napped at the top of Ubirr, giant Kakadu rocky outcrop, 'as seen in Crocodile Dundee'.
It was blissful, sweet, and goodness knows what else went on in that realm. Hubby and I repeated our vows to each other there, years later.
I once flew in a charter plane from Gunbalunya/Oenpelli, across broken sandstone country in Western Kakadu.
I silently wept because, strangely, it felt like a homecoming
And I get goosebumps on the inside when I say that.
I once walked away from the generator hum of the resort where I waitressed in Kakadu.
There was a full moon.
There was an owl on a low branch
And in that instant a male voice ‘spoke' in my heart.
It said, ‘know that you are loved’.
I thought, ‘it should have been a female voice’
and so ignored it for years, because it wasn’t true anyway.
But now I understand it was the owl who spoke and I value his words.
I once was in a tinny on Yellow Waters in Kakadu, dry season, very dry.
The motor was cut and I glided in super close to an azure kingfisher.
The intense, tiny blue and orange seemed to completely wash over me.
I didn’t stay long as four enormous crocs were on a bank nearby, watching.
I once saw a pair of jabirus, black necked storks, standing with wings fully outspread, beating them against each other, on a boat cruise in Kakadu.
Everyone else had their binoculars fixed on yet another crocodile up front.
I once walked with a flashlight, in croc territory on the Kakadu coast, scared rigid, looking for laying turtles for a PhD student.
Saw none, but, taking a break, witnessed hundreds of shooting stars, just before dawn, near the horizon, an annual meteorite shower, it turned out.
I once took my sea dog husband on a bush walk for our honeymoon in Kakadu, with what he called ‘half a cow’ on his back (a 20kg backpack). He was awake much of the night, spooked by what turned out to be wallabies chewing grass near our heads.
Towards the end, he was spotted by a young family, throwing off the pack and sprinting, swearing profusely, for our car, with it’s lifesaving gift of full bore air conditioning.
I once slung my mossie net between two small ti-trees and bedded down, only to be woken later by running hooves and then brumbies grazing all around me in the moonlight.
Then again, I also once woke to thunderous hooves and bellowing….and I and the girls I was with fled to higher ground. One, who’d slept through, had no idea why she was suddenly being dragged up and running.
As I peered in panic into the dark below, I swear I saw a dark mass, climbing.
In the morning we found the creek bed we’d been aiming for but didn’t quite make it to, completely trampled by what must have been mating buffalo.
I once listened, many years ago, to an Elder out that way tell me about the Seven Sisters Dreaming. I looked and looked but there was no way I could make out seven stars in that cluster.
One guy on our walks had no peripheral vision and he was always the first to spot the satellites as we lay, looking up.
I once played a simple hand game, made up on the spot, with a young Yolngu man. It was such a sweet, profound connection, while we listened to someone talk…..and an insight into what we white people so often ‘give up’ for what we BELIEVE adulting should look like.
I once felt so close to Country in Kakadu. If you looked under a giant microscope, there’d be no way to tell where I stopped and it began. I am so grateful for that.