I stayed six days at Porcupine Gorge Sacred National Park – an arid region laced with sandstone cliffs and canyons. Upon arriving, I sensed it to be a special place. A blood-red sunset mauled the horizon, and a pair of bettongs came hopping by, pausing to “dance” inquisitively around my feet, before heading away into a night wide and still.
In the morning, I descended into the gorge – slowly, contemplatively. The path winds down through 600 million years of geologic and psychic time, to a creek happy with fish, including the ancient saratoga. While the gorge reveals a long history, this area also feels timeless – present and now.
The Earth’s 285-million-year glide around the heart of the Milky Way is recorded, at least twice, in the stones exposed here. This is not properly a mere tourist destination, to be casually visited without acknowledging and communing with the abundant natural and sacred qualities.
The vast mixture of minerals and elements spilling beneath the transcendent blue sky, signals things incomprehensible to human thoughts, fears, sciences, and religions.
Meditating here has been exquisite. The country is so flat and open, and the sky is like a great temple over a world that demands our surrender to a Mystery that consumes us… and ultimately frees us.
Reclining beside me in a picnic shelter, as I write this, is an old man wallaroo, with muscles like Adonis. He is covered in ticks, and seems to live alone. I have offered water and apple, but he takes no handouts. After each night’s grazing he returns to the shelter, to sit out the hot sun until late afternoon. His power and calm are of the gorge, having lived long within and around it. What fleeting tourist can ever absorb the wisdom and simplicity exhibited by this wallaroo? His dignity and spirituality are palpable. And he never read a book, or attended any lecture… 🙂
If you ever do visit Porcupine Gorge, come with some time to soak your cells, and leave a little freer, with the crows’ acknowledgment. And remember the million-year-old wallaroo, in the picnic shelter by day and the gorge by night, who has seen and knows it all.
The following comes from the esteemed Rupert Sheldrake: “I believe that much good would flow from a change of attitude whereby tourists became pilgrims once again. Going to a sacred place as a tourist impoverishes the experience of the place, but going as a pilgrim enriches it. In our personal and collective lives, the transformation of tourism into pilgrimage has a large part to play in the re-sacralizing of the Earth.”