3 September 2012

Notes from another camping retreat


My favourite Casuarina Campsite,
now ruined by ugly posts
Friday
After 4 hours of early morning driving I finally arrive at Casuarina campsite on the far tip of Yorke Peninsula to find it closed for renovations.

I'm momentarily shocked.

This is the place amongst the coastal trees and sand dunes I've retreated and returned to almost every month since Mark died.

Ugly waist high posts now enclose each camp site. Beurocratic madness has invaded the bushland and turned it into a prison camp.

Heartbroken I drive on.

Entrance to campsite at Shell Beach
There are two more campsites further on: Shell Beach and Browns Beach. 
Shell Beach is a pretty place, there are 8 campsites set in a spoke design around a central circle and its a short walk to the enclosed little bay. It's not as wild or open as Casuarina but there are no prison posts and no other campers here yet. The sky is overcast. I set up tent, take a reconnaisance walk up and over the sand dunes, and snap a few pictures of the beach.

The path to Shell Beach
After lunch I curl up in my camp bed.
It's 2pm.
Shell Beach on Day 1 - overcast
I wake up briefly around 5pm for a drink, then fall back to sleep until 7am the next morning.

Day 1 of this retreat is spent asleep, unconscious, system shut down.


Saturday
Morning coffee revs me up. 
I go Walkabout. 
On my travels, I take note of the sandy undulations of the landscape, the higher dunes that provide a lookout, the patchy scrub bushes, the birdlife, the wildflowers, the waterholes; I listen for the ocean sensing and measuring the distance.

My legs feel strong, walking long distances is a pleasure. 

I have a water bottle and camera in one hand, my pad and pen in the other; hiking to Browns Beach connects me to the land through all of my senses, through ancient memories.

Kangaroos near Browns Beach
The campsite at Browns Beach is not as pretty as Shell Beach - its smaller, more exposed, not manicured, I like it better. The beach here isn't as intimate or enclosed as Shell Beach - it stretches on and on, I like that better too.

I'll camp at Browns Beach next time.

On the way back to Shell Beach I see a foot track off the main road that goes to Gym Beach, the walk is about 2 hours one way and I foolishly detour. After half an hour on the track I realise that I didn't eat breakfest this morning, OR any dinner last night. My last meal was a salad yesterday around lunchtime. My water is low and the track is unfamiliar. Sudden anxiety (or common sense) turns me back.

Watch out for cars
The road feels like a safer walking track now, though not for the sleepy lizards that wander out looking for a warm spot.

Emu poo
I notice emu poos here and there; a particular one on the road is a beautiful shape. It actually looks delicious, a wholegrain pyramid studded with colourful seeds. A vegetarian restaurant couldn't present it better and if I was hungry I'd be tempted to eat it.
Moon setting over Dolphin Beach

During meditation in the afternoon my focus is on 'sky-mind'. 
Instead of focussing on the breath and developing a laser like attention, meditating on sky-mind expands my awareness outward. The furrow in my brow dissolves into clear open space as my mental frequency refines; sky-mind transcends boundaries, dissolves blemishes, clears obstructions.

I come out here to be alone, to get away from all external stimulation and to reduce the internal stimulation that runs amok in my head. 
I'm blissfully happy out here, wandering alone along foot tracks that lead to places I haven't been before. In my own company I am free from anxiety.

I find interaction debilitating; or perhaps it's my personality interacting with others that drains me. Out here I am uncontaminated by any personalities. I revel in this purity, simple being, simple awareness, solitude and privacy.


Sunday
The morning sun shines on my back as I wander up along the sandy track, past Dolphin Beach, towards the clifftops at Royston Head. My ears soften, opening to take in the morning sounds unique to this landscape. I listen to the multitude of bird noises: twitters, whistles, hoots, squawks, cries, I hear insects buzzing, a faint breeze in the bushes, the thundering ocean roar...

I stop walking and stand still to admire the panorama from on top of the cliff, my shoulders melt and my heart opens, I release into the vast space of all that is, and all that I am.






1 comment:

krebscycle said...

Hi there, I would love to use your photo of emu poo (you will of course receive full credit) for a manuscript I'm writing on seed dispersal. Please let me know if that would be okay. Many thanks,
Jo Carpenter
PhD Student
University of Canterbury