At Jones creek we had a couple of rest days, and Kado Muir took us for a walk up to the range, pointing out various plants and explaining their uses along the way. We reached a permanent water source and dug a soak, and Aunty Shirley showed us an old grinding stone. It was really valuable to see the land through the eyes of the people who know it, and to learn some of the Dreaming stories of that area.
From Jones creek, we strode into somewhat inclement weather. We also encountered some very kind and well mannered Watpac goldmine workers who invited us to their gold mine (adjacent to the Wanjarri Nature Reserve) for a cup of joe (or else tea), where we exchanged cordialities and I took a photo of their Indigenous Policy. The land around was flowering and birdsong accompanied our sludgy footsteps. Hail fell on us and the wind tugged at our apparel. Our trusty support crew were there for us as ever, as our small band continued our sure march to Leonora.
Aunty Jeanette and Vicky made us feel welcome and reminded us to acknowledge the ancestors and the spirit of the land. Mira from Germany serenaded us with her beautiful old folk songs, telling the tale of a time when humanity lived a more peaceful existence in greater harmony with nature. It was mighty frosty that night and I was grateful for the extra sleeping bag I’d been lent.
The next day Hannah, Zaquisha and the other kids gathered calgula (the silky pear) for us, which were bittersweet and nourishing. Another stunning starry night followed the telling of my tale and how I came to be part of this walk. Chats around the fires brought us closer together, building mutual understanding and respect.
Vicky shared with us the dreaming sites of her mother and grandmother by Lake Miranda, and we observed a minute’s silence looking out over the lake toward one of the sacred hills. There was a thin layer of water in one part of the lake, a dead emu by the side of the road, and K.A. mentioned that it looks different every year. I took a lot of snaps. I’m sure those with real cameras would have captured a lot more of the depth and beauty out there.
Everyone is pitching in quite well to get everything done; there are plenty of chats and laughs, and whittling of mulga spoons, sporks and hair forks. We are doing really well with food, making some hearty, healthy and tasty treats including souffle and beef stew, which was to die for (well, that’s what the cow said).
Today we had a debrief on the nuclear waste dump proposals for South Australia which detailed the intractable problems and ramrod illegitimacy of it all. Afterward, a number of us got together for a heart-to-heart, passing the talking stone around and spilling beans and tears.
For the people, for the land,
Warri (and the other walkers) on Walkatjura Walkabout.