Friday, May 19, 2006

Big Red.. a celebration of the Simpson Desert


It is late afternoon
I stagger to the top of this red dune
It is a journey I’ve made many times before
and hopefully will continue to make for many years to come

It’s a special place, my high perch
where I sit cross-legged facing the setting sun

To the north and south of me
domes of windswept sand protrude like pimples above the ridge line
each one fired like a glowing poker
while below me
the shadow cast by the westerly dune
inches its way across the interdunal flat
intent on extermination.

The eagle makes a long low graceful run to view the intruder
then catches an updraught and rises effortlessly into the sky
How I envy him his range of visibility, his perspective, his freedom
The sun, now a fiery ball
makes a mockery of the colour chart
as its light dances over the scattered clouds to the west

An artist is at work here splashing, dabbing, continually changing
working his paints on the largest canvas in the world
Then in a frenzy, the final burst
............ and it’s finished
A masterpiece has been wrought by the fire of life

Sadly I watch this moment of art, this original
as it struggles in its death throes
to be obliterated forever by the curtain of night

Darkness falls on Big Red

Denis Bartell 1980

(Nappanerica sand dune near Birdsville named “Big Red” by Denis Bartell in 1980)

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