Yesterday was our first day of camping together with our daughter Gabby.
Yesterday, I was reminded that my sleep cycle and eating rhythm aren’t compatible with hers – probably why we’ve both found it easier not to live with each other for a while.
Last year she moved from Adelaide to the Northern Territory. So we visited her at the beginning of the wet season, and promised to visit her again in the dry – in the cool. Yesterday was the fulfillment of that promise.
Yesterday, I didn’t eat when I should have.
And we didn’t leave when I would have.
So we walked in the midday sun.
Up a steep climb.
Ever-so patiently my dear husband Chris waited with me, while my mind was willing. Or was it?
And my flesh was weak…very weak.
We eventually made it to the top of the climb (Mirray Lookout) where a flat platform waited for me to sprawl across it until my body rested enough for me to take in the view. A truly awesome full-circle view of Kakadu National Park, with the promise of gorgeous gorges, rocks and mountains, swamps and wild life. And new clouds from the constant burning that supposedly encourages new growth.
After I had recovered a little, we walked back down and drove to Merl to learn weaving from Aboriginal women.
I didn’t progress to the weaving. I got stuck discovering how difficult it is to split and peel usable threads of twine from the leaves of ‘pandanus spiralis’.
I asked the woman closest to me ‘When you first did this, how long did it take you to learn how to do it?’ .
‘Straight away,’ she said as she looked at my handiwork, shook her head and laughed.
The others had been working on it for much longer than me. A couple of them got it.
Most of them, like me, didn’t.
It was hot.
It was dry.
I still had not eaten enough.
It was a great experience. We saw more than a dozen salt-water crocodiles in their natural environment –
which stayed away from us despite me being tempted to yell ‘Croc-bait!’ every time a parent on our boat neglected their young-fry who loitered too close to the front or sides of the boat.
The diversity of birds delighted all of us. A Jacana—also known as a Jesus-bird because they appear to walk on water—called to the chicks he was tending and gathered them under his wings. We laughed when our guide pointed to five pairs of legs under the daddy-Jesus-bird.
As the sun set a pair of Jabirus danced together on the horizon, as though the tour company had choreographed each movement.
The perfect end to a very full day.