A treat for the senses

September 15, 2010

If you’ve done a bit of travelling, you tend to pick up a few stories from interesting places. One which stuck with me was a story told by an aboriginal park ranger in the Northern Territory (Australia) on one of those site tours offered daily by the National Park. Kakadu has lots of those spots that really stay with you. This story was told in a particularly evocative way. The scene of the story telling is on top of Ubirr Rock at sunset.

This is a particularly glorious spot with views out to the wetlands. The aboriginal ranger is telling a story about a vehicle that breaks down in the bush in the blistering heat, about the sense of despair felt by stranded people unfamiliar with the country, held captive by the oppressive heat and humidity. With a couple of simple repeated phrases, this guy conjures up the coolest, most refreshing wind….’you feel him, wind’, step by step creating a paradise around a stranded car in the bush. It’s humbling to be in the presence of a master story teller, no doubt one who has grown up with a deep cultural immersion in narrative. I’d love to go back to that moment and hear his tale again, but maybe it would spoil my memory. The story teller’s point was that our senses are kept in check and his aim was to set them free. Which he did.

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