PATHWAYS, the MORAG & ZOE stories,
Gulpa Creek Community.
From the time that she could stand, Gracie was a born walker…..not in the ordinary sense, but as a traveller. While other kids chilled out in lounge rooms watching tv, she was out with me….exploring everything that lived around, above and on the Forest floor.
Giant Goannas, so amazingly patterned and textured they seemed to have stepped straight out of an Aboriginal Painting….with huge claws for climbing trees and long tails lashing, they were impressive beasts, but we felt no fear of them….they just were there, alongside us. During a big flood, walking on top of an irrigation channel to avoid the vast floodwaters below Gracie said….”there’s a fox in the tree”. A typical adult response from me, “no darlin, it must be a red cat”, then turning a corner….there it was, a fox, sitting about 20 feet above the ground, surveying the flocks of Chestnut Teal paddling peacefully below. The fox had run up what I called a big old female Red Gum, with great swollen bulbous base, and huge branches low enough for bold Reynard to climb.
A wondrous sight.
Years later, a neighbour who lived across the paddocks from us, asked me….as I was leaving to go back to Melbourne, “would you please show me all the pathways, before you go???”
“What pathways” I asked her.
“The ones you and Grace walk every day”.
Feeling astonished, I told her ….”there are no marked pathways…..we simply go into the forest and make our own”
Having never left the main roads the cars used between houses and to the river…..she had no concept of walking into the forest and just exploring…..I wonder if she ever did, and understand now, what was completely natural to us, was daunting to others.
Now, back to MORAG & ZOE……with our team of pack animals, four horses and two mules, we pushed on South, walking into colder weather…..always negotiating ways to get by.
Once, worrying about dwindling supplies, I, Morag, said so, “Zoe gave me a “you with little faith” look, reminding me that our third pack horse carried enough hand-woven rugs and carpets to trade for all that we needed for the coming Winter.
MA© Autumn 2018
To be continued