wasteland to wildflowers

Last week I did something a little strange. I dropped the Jeep off in town and walked home. It's strange because it's a 4 hour walk home and the mechanic has a free car service. But I needed a walk. A good walk always allows me to think, it's time to talk to myself and to figure things out. This walk took me through a mixed landscape, starting in the industrial zone, through the suburbs and finally into the bush. I took my camera, I slung it around my neck, and every now and then I'd click the shutter as my camera hung at chest height. I didn't look through the viewfinder, I let the camera do the work. What I ended up with is a photographic metaphor of my life. More precisely the journey of my life these past few years. I left the ugly, the industrial complex, I left the suburban culture, and made my way through semi-rural life and ended up back in the country where I was most happiest as a child.

The walk was pretty arduous I have to admit. It was hot, I had a pack with plenty of water and some tucker. The bush tracks were often steep and rocky. As I walked out of Ballarat I consumed the ugliness of our current lifestyle - factories making 'stuff' in a bland soulless suburban environment and extravagant use of natural resources (i.e. golf courses).

Then as I gradually entered the bush on the fringe of this rural city, I was confronted with the expected - the visual and environmental eyesore of dumped rubbish, which in my mind shows the general level of respect many of my fellow citizens have for the natural world. It seems that some people have the 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind' approach. I just can't understand what goes through ones mind when they dump rubbish in the forest.

All the usual suspects were there, they always are.

It's such a pity that it's so hard to go anywhere in Victoria without seeing junk that some person has left behind, no doubt with intent. It demonstrates to me the attitudes of the people. Sure there are people who care, but when I see this being so commonplace my heart sinks for the future of humanity. This display of human behaviour shows to me a clear lack of respect for nature, and no doubt an overall view of our greater natural environment. Why would that person care about reducing their carbon footprint, buying less stuff, living with less? These attitudes of disrespect and laziness run strong through a person's general approach to life.

When I got deeper into the bush I saw the most beautiful patches of wildflowers, the chocolate lilies, milk maids and all the other wild orchids and flowers were such a beautiful sight. They come out and beautify the bush every spring. With such beauty how could one treat the bush with no respect?

When I sifted through the images, I was saddened by some pictures, their honesty and what they represented to me. In the end I was happy to find the little track in a paddock of long grass that led me home. It's such a simple, non-descript country track, but it represents so much to me. It's a harbinger of hope.