HALLELUJAH PILGRIMS! Hallelujah to this PRECIOUS EARTH and to our JOURNEYS whilst we are here! How are you feeding YOUR CREATIVITY? I am CURIOUS because my deepest LOVE (other than my Chiboogamoo) is the IMAGE that EMERGES from the SOULS of each and every PILGRIM. I keep an urgent question close to my HEART—how would everyone’s PHYSICAL experience in a SPECIFIC PLACE manifest itself in a PARTICULAR VISUAL PICTURE? What if each PILGRIM made ART, and we all could SEE his or her SPIRIT embodied?
On my PILGRIMAGE with my Chiboogamoo, I have had the good fortune of seeing ART which EMBODIES the SPIRITS of PILGRIMS inhabiting Winton and its neighboring towns in central Queensland, Australia, about a 500-kilometer drive from the charming coastal city of Townsville. Please take a moment to breathe in these beautiful concrete expressions of SOULs living in the outback of northeast Australia with its vast treeless grasslands in which an occasional acacia or eucalyptus stand jut out from its open vistas. The red earth also gathers itself at moments and erupts into towering hills and plateaus. Kangaroos bounce across this vastness, weaving in and out of herds of sheep and cattle. The gulahs and brolgas fill the sky with flapping wings and chatter!
Cities, like Winton also suddenly arise out of these seemingly infinite grasslands. And how WONDERFUL are the SURPRISES that the city of Winton holds for the TRAVELER! Although this city is small—its modest number of blocks can be traveled by foot from edge to edge in about 30 minutes--its inhabitants’ LOVE for what is ARTFUL is large and clearly established!
On Elderslie Street, across from where my Chiboogamoo and I stayed in the North Gregory Hotel, is the Waltzing Matilda Centre. In addition to providing documentation to the history of this iconic song, it also houses the “Outback Regional Gallery,” which promotes local artists. It is at this gallery that I got to imbibe some LOCAL visual SOUL. Look at these images! At these “SOULs”! (All the artwork you see here belongs to local Queensland artists.)
Walking northeast several blocks from the Waltzing Matilda Centre, we were DELIGHTED to visit “Arno’s Wall.” Hallelujah! Grotjahn Arno’s SPIRIT has been creating this wall for over 30 years, patiently collecting tools, hubcaps, statues, and whatever he thought would add pizzazz to this 2-meter-high and 70-meter-long wall made from rock quarried from his opal mine in the nearby town of Opalton. Thank you Arno!
Leaving Arno’s Wall behind, and walking past the caravan park, Matilda Country Tourist Park, and refueling road trains filled with mooing cattle, my Chiboogamoo and I successfully found the “Musical Fence”—a Winton touristic destination that had filled us with immeasurable curiosity! Imagine PILGRIMS my anticipation! The winter sun is setting in central Queensland. We have left the architectural structures of the city behind, and we “discover” a sign introducing us to this musical wonder constructed by Graeme Leak in 2003. How was this SPIRIT, this PERCUSSIONIST able to “tune” a fence? With PLEASURE, my husband and I picked up wooden sticks and PLAYED as the sky darkened and red streaks burst out on the grasslands. The wind blew and the fence reverberated! HALLELUJAH! (Listen to me "play" the fence!)
We thought Leak’s musical fence was the zenith of our Winton cultural experience. But! We hadn’t seen BUSH POETs perform at the caravan park! Spoken Word ARTISTS, Slam competitors, speakers of the people--whatever you want to call these story tellers of the outback, their performances are mesmerizing! When we stopped at the caravan park on our way back to the hotel, it was dark, but the heart of the caravan park was glowing. Not a seat was left at these buskers’ “free” performance. People were hanging onto fences and sitting on garbage cans, leaning in to hear two forty-ish women wearing cowboy hats. The only money these POETs get is whatever is collected in their hats at night’s end. That and selling their CDs. How I wish we had purchased one! For now, these poets’ names remain unknown to me and my Chibogamoo! My apologies FELLOW CREATIVE SPIRITs!
Dinner at the Gregory brought us into close contact with the hotel’s current proprietor, a Philippine woman long married to an Australian. Running an old hotel in the outback is no easy thing, but this proprietor was a real CREATIVE. Luckily for Chiboogamoo and me, she sat us down in front of an old player piano, which in order to make run, we had to pedal like a bike! Next to the piano is a cabinet with more than twenty original paper rolls with songs from the early 20th century! Listen to my Chiboogamoo play!
PILGRIMS I will be writing more about Winton in a future blog, so I will conclude here with two questions: 1) WHAT CREATIVE ACT WILL YOU TAKE TODAY TO EXPRESS YOUR SOUL’S VIEW OF REALITY? 2) HOW WILL YOU INTERACT WITH FELLOW PILGRIMS SO THAT YOU CAN SEE THEIR SOULS?
Hallelujah SOUL BLOGS with you to SEE you! Please write me and SHARE your precious self with me! Hallelujah!