Tennant Creek to Devils Marbles

I stayed overnight with Leonie. I didn’t get a great sleep. I hear the indigenous people fighting, they are very loud. I am pretty exhausted from the few days in a remote community but on the whole happy.

My mother rang to say hi so we caught up. My voice sounds pretty husky as my immune system has dropped and I may be unwell for a few days. I need to have some good rest. It is hard on the road. I am finding caravan parks or national parks difficult, particularly when people don’t consider others. This I find interesting, although I can’t complain too loudly as I have had a few loud nights myself in the past. Although I do need to get good rest every few days. For the moment I will just go with it.

There is the ochre card system here. This is the police check for working with children. I have already had that done in Queensland but it looks like I need a card for each State. This is the joys of the State system. They expect people to pay for each card. It took me two months in Queensland to get my card. I find it interesting, when I work in schools I am supervised by a teacher, why would I need a check? It is noteworthy about pedophilia, they would be a very tiny percentage of people, yet everyone has to be checked. If one has never been caught then the person will be cleared. I think the money is better spent trying to understand why a pedophile feels this desire. We have to solve the problem there. Children can be easily protected by having several people watching them and educating children on what to do if they are approached or propositioned. When I was a child the big issue was flashers. We used to walk through the cemetery and heard stories. I got flashed once by a guy called Big Al, yes his name was a reflection but I did laugh at the time.

Leonie made me a really hearty breakfast. I finished packing my car and off I went. I decided not to travel too far as I am not feeling well. It takes a lot of effort to set up a tent. Anyway, she told me about Devils Marbles. I turned off the Stuart Highway (heading for Alice Springs) and went and had a look at the Devils Marbles. I have to say I was stunned to see all these granite boulders. I can see why they call them marbles, some are perfectly round. They are balancing on rocks, or haphazard or stacked. It looks like someone just plonked all these massive rocks. They were absolutely amazing. I felt they made Stonehenge look like a pile of stones. More in terms of the magnificence of these monolithic stones. I felt the place was sacred and when I checked out the information, I was interested to learn it was a secret place for the aboriginals. They did secret women’s business and men’s there. I could understand why. They indicated that in the dreaming ‘nice people’ come but they may take you away and there had been times where children had disappeared. The nice people were spirit.

I remember when I spoke to my indigenous friends back in Canteen Creek, they told me about the spiritual life. One said she went to a place and she could smell an odour, she new they were there. The child with her was very stiff saying she could see them. Their sacred life is very important to them and they are tuned into the ancestors.

I decided to camp overnight there. I was at the base of some magnificent boulders. I noticed some smoke from behind. I see continual plumes of smoke as I am traveling. I wonder how natural it is to have so many spot fires. It clears out the grass but I wonder about the animals that die when the fires start. I am getting used to seeing smoke and my usual alarm about fires is somewhat sedate given they are typically grass fires. Where I had come from in Melbourne we had fires that were all around Melbourne and they were big, quite a few people lost their lives as the flames just jumped. So you do have to be mindful, checking out the type of trees. Here the trees are sparse so it doesn’t seem to travel too far. It is beautiful to watch the rings of fire, but I do wonder if it is good for the environment given how many I’ve seen. I reflect on the carbon going up into the atmosphere as well.

I cooked some dinner on my two burner stove. Handy little stove. Met my neighbours. The guy looked like a hippy with his dread locks and colourful headscalf. He told me he was a fire twirler from Belgium. He had traveled through Asia and will continue traveling after Australia. He and his partner were doing fruit picking to keep going. He spoke to me of his love of performing for children. I told him about my own philosophy of learning to give to the community, that money need not be a central motivation. I said I don’t care if I am paid or not, and I really don’t. Yes money does help but I am just over it these days. I am simply following my heart, there is no great plan other than offering my services to schools. I don’t mind doing some laughter clubs or clowning in hospitals. I will meet up with a clown doctor in Alice Springs. My feeling is to just get on with this work and do it.

I got ready for bed and heard the murmuring of people talking around the camp ground. I tried to sleep but there was one group where they laughed really loudly. It was really late but they didn’t seem to be aware of others. This I find curious. I was brought up to consider people and if people are sleeping to be quiet. These people got louder and louder. I was pretty exhausted you know that feeling you are too tired to get up but you can’t sleep. I tried to hypnotise myself counting backwards from 100 as my sister suggested, it didn’t work. There were moments I was just about to go and then I hear this man laughing out loud. It just went through me. I tried everything. Anyway, I decided to get up and tell them to quieten down. So out of the dark I emerged. It was interesting I said excuse me can you keep the noise down. They were very quiet, it was quite interesting the silence, then a woman said okay. I said thank you. Thankfully they did quieten down then I found it hard to sleep eventually I drifted off. I then woke up at the crack of dawn. Being a light sleeper is a hassle you just wake up so easily. I decided there was not much point lying there, people will just start getting up, slamming doors, talking etc. I thought just get up and go. I saw the group of people, they were watching me. I was not impressed by them as they were still making noise in the morning. They were an older group that I would have thought knew better. But anyway, I didn’t want to hold onto that feeling. I just got organized and left. I am still not well. However, I will just do the best I can.

Mohandas Gandhi

“My life is my message.”