Monday, January 11, 2010

Life Cycles

We were stirred from  a deep sleep by the madman cackles of a kookaburra.I gradually opened my eyes and when I peered out the window I discovered a fine mist surrounding Lake Catani.  The foggy conditions, overcast sky, and the white leafless trees on the hill above the lake made me want to stay tucked in my warm sleeping bag.  But I knew that looks could be deceiving.   It was not a cold Boxing Day that awaited us outside of the metal tin that we were currently calling home, but an early summer morning.  We eagerly threw open the backdoors of the Land Rover and enthusiastically inhaled the refreshing morning air.  The fine mist had washed away the dirt and oppressive heat that had settled over the area for the last few days.   Energized by the cool, eucalyptus scented air we were anxious to hit the trails and discover what Mt. Buffalo Park had to offer.

We left Lake Catani behind as we traversed a low lying valley flanked by a creek and tall grasses.  I could barely contain my excitement as we passed by burrow after burrow.  The holes dug in the earth were too big for rabbits and I couldn't imagine that that many foxes lived in one area.  I began to look for other clues of who inhabited the underground dens.  It wasn't long before I found cube shaped scat strategically placed on logs, rocks and tufts of buffalo grass.  My suspicions were confirmed and I knew that that this area was home to the common wombat. Unfortunately, the morning sun was high on the horizon and the nocturnal animal had retired for the day.
After 30 minutes we had traversed the valley and the trail began a steep climb up Mt. Dunn.  The trail took us into an area devastated by fire several years ago.  The understory had returned to life:  purple wild flowers were in bloom, ferns carpeted the forest floor, and small snow gums had sprouted.  However, thousands of barkless, leafless, lifeless trees were still standing.  The deep roots, that once provided sustenance, continued to anchor them to the ground.  However, time and the elements would eventually break that bond between tree and land.  As we looked up from the forest floor we could see how the snowy white skeletons were all slightly curved in the same direction.  The gentle giants' final attempt to escape the intense heat, their final movements forever frozen in time.

We left the cemetery of trees and their silent whispers behind for the final ascent to the top of Mt. Dunn.  We were now above the tree line and the single track trail turned to a rocky slab.  The rocks that were below our feet were once buried deep in the center of a massive land structure.  Over time the elements slowly wore down the mountain.  Wind, heat, water, and ice have carved away at the surface, have taken advantage of the weakened joints and widened cracks--turning a rugged peak  into a landscape of uniquely shaped boulders, tors, and cliffs.
The massive boulder top known as Mt. Dunn provided the perfect vantage point to observed the unparallel panorama.  Before us lay the final product of the forces of nature.  The combination of the regeneration of vegetation, the stunning rock formation, and the fire destruction was staggering.  I had to ask myself how could something so harsh be so beautiful.  Perhaps because what lay before us was a perfect representation of the cycle of life.


  1. Hi Maya, wonderful post. I enjoyed vicariously observing the cycle of life in this beautiful park through your experiences. That first photo with the mist is very stunning. I love all of your photos.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences here.

  2. Held my breath through the entire length of your lovely posting!

  3. Kathy, I am glad you enjoyed the post. Mt. Buffalo National Park is an amazing place.

    Gonzalee, haven't your learned anything in pilates about breathing?

  4. HI Maya, your pictures and your writing are so wonderful. Your descriptions of nature make us feel we are right there with you and we can feel what you feel, and see what you are seeing.
    Keep writing and keep taking such beautiful pictures.
    Elaine and Don