29 May 2008

Crossing the Border Ranges

"Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me
leading wherever I choose."

— Walt Whitman

Song of the Road

and so yay, alas, On Saturday the 24th of May, I set sail to cycle across the land.

With last minute packing, and a final check-over the tree planting down in the gully, I set-off only a few hours from sunset, to my friend Darrens home on the edge of the Border Ranges.

I spend a couple of truly grounding days up on this magical little ridge, nestled on the southern edge of the world heritage Border Ranges National Park.

The vegetation would best be described as Mexican Desert~Rainforest eco-tone.

We went on two bushwalks, one in the day and the other at night.

The sound of the Sooty-owl is etched in my minds eye, a most hauntingly beautiful intense spiraling whistling screeching sound. What an adventure trekking through the Rainforest in the middle of the night.

The next day we climbed Mt Gipps, and I heard (wow) and eventually saw (WOWeeee!) for the first time ever, an Alberts Lyrebird, and extremely rare ground dwelling bird that mimics the sound of other animals and even chainsaws and camera lenses. They are an ancient species with no living relatives (besides the more common Superb Lyrebird).

they are only found in these Ranges between NSW and QLD.

Listen to some of the birds sounds on the Lamington National Park Website

This transitional experience is just what I needed before heading out on the road alone. A time to reconnect with my what I feel to be my home, the life on these mountains. To listen to the birds, touch the moss and lye in the sun with the company of a warm hearted brother who absolutely loves nature.

So, alas, the time did come When I crossed the border from Mexico (aka northern nsw) into Queensland and rode in a some-what vague North-Westerly direction. (which at times became south-west ... or was that north south ?)

The first couple of days were difficult. physically, emotionally, spiritually ... you name it.

there is the personal quest of "Being true to me", finding a way to express my gifts and talents that provide me with an income which could also somehow make a difference in the world, for the good of not just mankind, but the entire living biosphere.

I'm aware that we live in most uncertain times, our disconnection from nature has lead man to exploit and consume much of the Earths natural resources, at a rate that is totally unsustainable.

this troubles me, it sometimes leaches the hope from my soul. What world will our children live in ? how many species will go extinct this century all because we forgot how absolutely beautiful our Mother Earth is ? (you remember? the colour of sunrise, the water in the creek, the sound of the wind?)

and so, when I'm heart connected, I feel that all is well. there is no need to fear, follow your passion, stay close to the Earth, do what makes you feel whole and happy.

be present. stay awake.

like the poem...

Feel compassion for the world
but don't let your passions turn into rage..

See the problems and imperfections
but realize that it's just a passing phase..

stop trying to fix the whole world

and work on your own soul and self..

and when you have changed enough my friend
you'll see those changes everywhere else.

sometimes we loose touch with our heart, and get swept up int fear and uncertainty.

Who Am I ? Why Am I Here ? What is my purpose ?

I welcome these feelings and just allow myself to naturally 'undo the knot' so-to-speak, by just breathing and observing. riding along, feeling a bit out of touch with my vision, I remember to breath and acknowledge the age old quote "no rain- no rainbows".

very interesting how the outer-landscape matched my inner-landscape for these first couple of days, the bare deforested country in South East Queensland, a direct result of an intense land clearing lifestyle that took hold no more than 200 years ago.

and yet hope and inspiration to live for the bigger picture came in the form of the Eagle, a powerful animal that for me, represents Freedom, Vision and Insight.

everything in nature (and we are nature) is cyclic.

In every winter's heart
is a quivering spring,
and behind the veil of each night
there is a smiling dawn.

-Khalil Gibran

just like climbing a mountain, what goes up must come down. All patterns in the pulse of life

One day we feel super light and alive and connected, the next we feel dense and our energy becomes restricted.

“When I die and my ashes are sprinkled in the places I love, I wouldn't want people to say of me only, "She was a great teacher," or "I loved her writing." I would like at least one person to come closer, to add, " she was also lonely, she suffered alot, she was mixed up, she made some big mistakes ...but she was important to me." Then I would feel really honored, as though someone had seen and known me. "

— Natalie Goldberg, The Great Failure

And so riding along, north of the Border Ranges, a few days into the ride, within site of Main Range National Park in the west, my energy shifts and I feel lighter, ready to take on this big mountain pass called "Cunninghams Gap".

it was this moment when I really felt, this is happening ... I'm doing it.

Not sure how high this pass was, but it was a big one and I have since reassessed what I truly need on this journey (balsamic vinegar? hahhaha, yehhh right).

I made it up into the Main Range National Park right on sunset, with massive big mother Truckers hooning passed at 100km an hour.

At the top of the gap is a magical refugium of sub-tropical Rainforest, home to many rare species.

And the moment came, when I realized my purpose in life, was to ride my bicycle 4km through a Rainforest Trail to the campsite.... I wouldn't be surprise (at all) if I was the only person in the Milky Way Galaxy who has ever ridden this trail)

WOW ... this experience was one of pure bliss. the light was fading but the trail just kept sweeping down through gully's and around ridges ... perfect off-road cycling.

the bliss subsided when I got to the bottom and had to cross a creek and go up 20 or so steps (with a bike, 2 panniers and a trailer !!!) ... eeek

The energy of this place was amazing, I sat back in total awe. I feel connected to the source of life and just happy to "BE" alive. feeling how my breath naturally draws in oxygen from the environment. I am a living "Being".

the stars were out so I slept under them, and early in the morning the moon came to visit ... and then a storm cloud came and I quickly put the tent up.

after a visit from the local Satin bowerbirds, I ate some porridge and took off for Toowomba, over 100km away...

The first 20 or so kilometers was all downhill ~ yummmmmmmy. more bliss

I rode through Goomburra country for the second time, and eventually I got on the New England Highway and rode into Toowoomba with a big dark storm chasing me down as the sun sat in the West.

And so here I am today, having a chill day, as the weather is windy and looks like rain any second.

my legs are a little saw after yesterdays 100km plus day.

and so, alas, I've now ridden 280km since leaving home.

my direction ? I'm sourcing it from each moment, but generally I aim to reach the sacred Bunya Mountains in a few days, and then keep heading west towards Canarvon Gorge, out in the Central Highlands. (hopefully to do some volunteer work with Bush Heritage Australia.

I'm still very much feeling to reconnect with the Newcastle tribe for Climate Camp in July, but not on the bike, either hitch or fly.

After that, I'll follow the sun north ... eventually reaching the Daintree or maybe even Cooktown (wow, or maybe even Papua New Guinea .... or India ... or Ireland).

until next time, remember to breath ~

Love ya's

"Every Step of the Journey IS the ultimate destination"

- Kenny

Tiny Blue Dot

Click for Interview with Joanna Macy


Anonymous said...

go Paul, remember wherever you go whatever you do someone is watching!

ecodigitography said...

brother Paul go forth knowing you have the full support of those who love you, none more than mother Earth who welcomes you into her bosom with all the beauty and knowledge for you to share