Chiboogamoo’s paleontological research brought us to the cliffs hovering above the sea and jutting out into the cloudy coastal sky. Each day we had a destination along the Great Ocean Road with wonderful sounding names like Skene’s Creek, Milanesia Beach, Rotten Point, Dinosaur Cove, and Wreck Beach. For descriptions of my husband’s engaging scientific musing about these exciting sites along the Victorian coast, visit his blog—The Great Creataceous Walk.
Hallelujah sighs! If our work had only been to go to the cliffs along the Great Ocean Road and stare out at the white fluffy clouds lingering in cobalt blue skies above a gray winter ocean, I would not have had the PROFOUND MIND-BODY EXPERIENCE, nor the resulting story to tell. Our fieldwork crew had to descend to the rocky shore to search for fossil traces—evidence of living creatures burrowing and moving about on this earth 100 million years ago.
Rather abruptly our 20-minute road walk ended at a wall of thickly grown bushes. We stared at the wildly powerful ocean pounding the rocks about 600 feet below. The force of the water hitting the earth created oodles and oodles of white froth, floating everywhere and seeming to fly across expanses of rolling waves (See Hallelujah’s photos of this terrific terrain posted in an earlier post.)
Imagine Hallelujah’s surprise when Greg Denney, our guide and owner of this particular piece of land leading down to the coast, found a way into the bushes. Like magic, the branches and leaves opened up and he vanished! Mike Hall, a retired geologist from Monash University followed. Then my dear Chiboogamoo dove in. Tom Rich, the paleontologist from the Museum of Victoria, told me to go next. Gulp…Me? I inhaled and ducked my head, crouching into the darkness created by the arbor of branches. The Australian boys call this “bush bashing.”
As I moved down the vertical face of the cliff, I held onto the branches, asking them not to bite my ungloved hands, not to catch and hold my clothes, not to tear the flesh on my arms and legs. I was thankful when my feet wedged between the hardened wooden bases of the bushes. To my surprise, I discovered we were following a wallaby trail—the fresh scat alerting me to their most recent presence along this very small trail. I was moving through the shrub at wallaby height—about three and half feet high!
At spots without the wallaby trail and the wedging created by their small and well-used trail, I was much less secure. My feet were slipping on the rain soaked soil, and I felt myself falling down the incline, only to have a branch offer itself to me until I found sure footing once again. I held hands with these shrubs, I hugged them, I fell to their feet and became covered with mud on hands and backside. Hallelujah for MOTHER NATURE. Hallelujah!
During this descent to the shore, MOTHER EARTH embraced all of me. How intimate to be next to HER and SHE so generous, supportive, and alive! I was enclosed in HER scent, HER soil, and HER vegetation. SHE heaved me down to HER rocky shores with my heart beating strongly. I felt the pounding of HER waves in my bones. I felt PRESENT.
Meanwhile, the geologists conferred. Standing on the gray shale platform extending out into the sea, they decided we could not get to Rotten Point from here. We would have to ascend the 600 feet we had just travelled down and take a different route back to the shore.
Once again we submerged ourselves in the miniature forest of shrubs along the coast. My day proceeded in continued intimacy with the GREAT MOTHER. SHE did not disappoint me once as I walked along HER surfaces, climbed beneath HER branches, slid down HER hillsides, and balanced on the rocks that had eroded from HER cliffs.
This PILGRIMAGE stopped time for Hallelujah. The knowledge I gained was EMOTIONAL—VISCERAL: I BELONG TO THIS EARTH. I am part of INFINITE TIME. Where there appeared to be no path, there was one. It was not a human path but a trail made by a much smaller animal living right there. We are part of a HUGE LIVING WEB in the VASTNESS of TIME.
We are ALL CONNECTED. Soul-blog with Hallelujah and tell her your experiences of feeling most alive and connected to MOTHER EARTH when time stopped and you became a part of INFINITY!
NOTE: This December 12 entry for REVERB10 was taken from an earlier Coffee With Hallelujah post written whilst Hallelujah was in Australia in June and July. Once again, thanks REVERB10 for giving me a chance to reflect on these significant moments of 2010!