The perfect balance of Mother Nature awes me. Sitting here on a short holiday ‘a break’, I have a view of the Flinders Ranges on one side, The Middle Back Ranges the other, the mangroves and the saltbush. A family of swallows flit around and entertain me with their dainty maneuvers. A crow caws, the sky is clear and vast. The sun bakes down and the wind blows to keep me cool.
The only shelter is the shack itself, the verandah and my straw hat. This place was built by my Great Grandfather George. George and Jessie lived in Carrieton, near Port Augusta and moved to Adelaide after the Second WW. My Grandfather Eric was born and bred in Carrieton, Dad told me that he went out to work at 16 riding fences. He would be out on his own with 2 horses for a week at a time at properties near The Dutchman. The Dutchman is the sharp peak you can see near Port Augusta.
My family have been coming to this place for family getaways and fishing trips for 5 generations. It was built around 1955, a corrugated iron shack with 2 sheds and a long drop dunny that has only recently been upgraded to a flush. It runs on rain water, gas appliances and the only power it has is what we bring with us. I remember my Grandma Norma cooking roasts and cakes in the old wood oven. The oven is gone now, it was rusted out. You see every year in winter, on a KIng tide and strong winds the water from the creek rises and floods the shack, to about 40cm.
Dad takes us out fishing and crabbing on the boat. I learnt to catch fish here. There used to be a lot of King George Whiting here, a favourite, but the top of the Gulf has been fished too much and we don’t catch many whiting anymore. Mother Nature needs balance to survive. We went Canoeing this morning, my Dad and I, ‘very pleasant’ he remarked. Pleasant for the adults yes, but the kids love it here. My boy Bodhi is 5, he loves the freedom, no shoes, no helmet, no worries. They gets to explore the land on their own. I learnt to ride a bike here when I was a kid. We walk in our rubber boots and get stuck in the mud, my girl Coco who is 8 learns to overcome her fears.
I love that my kids get to experience this land and to love it just as our ancestors have. To know the mud, the smell of the saltwater and mangroves, to appreciate the life and land that on first appearance looks desolate. The Kangaroos, Emus, Snakes, Lizards and Wombats still live around here, every now and then you meet one. The Marine life is beautiful, the Fish, Seagrass, Shellfish, Stingrays, small Sharks and Dolphins. It is after all Winninowie Conservation Park.
Being here is a release, we let go of our normal existence of being addicted to our phones, computers and television – to busyness of modern civilisation. Here in this place, we slow down, to the rhythm of the Earth and Sky, we find a balance with Mother nature. Sitting in silence, the sounds of the birds and insects to listen to, my body slowly relaxes. Releasing the fears and worries that i normally carry with me. My mind clears of useless clutter and i just sit. I notice the shadows move with the sun. The world becomes huge again, like when i was a child looking up. The sky is vast, my little heart slowly releases it’s grip, and i sink into my place which is right here, right now. Where my ancestors sat too, I drink in the glorious view. I forgot what it’s like to be here, 2 years is a while. I didn’t want to come, ‘it was too far’, ‘a hassle to pack and drive for 4 hours with the kids’. In the end I always say yes to a holiday because I know it’s good for me, I know I will have a good time. It’s so peaceful here, I remember why we come here. The quiet. The freedom. The spectacular view. The stars at night. The Campfires. The family time. The break. The balance to our busy life. Mother Nature teaches us balance.