When camping in the outback it was impossible not to avoid staring at the brilliance of the night’s sky. As we looked up it seemed like we could see everything. As the early evenings passed the planets would shift, moving ever forward and westward with the moon falling back, slowly measuring time cycles so vast they were impossible to comprehend.
Edward Thomas, the English naturalist poet, talks somewhere about the ancientness and timelessness of the natural world and about the wind. Like the movements of the stars and planets which could always be seen, the sound of the wind was possibly the first thing that could always be heard, and like the stars and planets, has not changed in the way it blows, when rustling trees and grasses and roaring across ocean shores.
So in someways the world never changes but in other ways it does. We’re thinking very much of departed friends and are reminded how short life is compared to the patterns of natural time – Gondwana, continental drift, ice ages, sea levels – the things that so define Australia and make all our brief lives appear so inexplicably short.