As I walk in the desert to find answers long lamented over,
happy in my solitude, content with selective seclusion,
it does not take long before fatigue turns into abandonment–
alone can only be alone if you are willing to play the hermit.
Twenty-first-century sages cannot be content with ascetism,
yet, it’s all there is for them as only the monastery is still considered
sacred. The burden of wisdom is not theirs alone to carry, they share
this with the fairy-wrens and the desert. They desire to teach knowledge
to others but guidance is not always welcome or easily understood,
therefore, the choice of silence must not be considered lightly.
Out here amongst the passing kangaroos hopping in the night
I see two comets drift past with purpose as if they had collided.
I know that they are hundreds of thousands of miles apart,
but in my eyes, they pass like well-acquainted lovers.
Shooting stars bring heaven to earth like the Kaaba
holds a meteorite – wisdom falling means I only need to find it.
The constellations paint a fiery map in which to guide me;
Orion battle-ready with his sword and Aquarius who forever
gathers water to pour out onto thirsty travellers and drown the flame
deep within my soul. The Southern Cross will show me to my true
South and the Milky Way will blanket and comfort my subconscious.
As I bunker down for seclusion, clouds gather
to block the stars. Cold and miserable start to sink in
with dingoes waiting on the hill, and restless spirits watching.
Just as I struggle to move my bones to reach the long-awaited
insight, you appear to me in visions. My muse, my nurse,
my healer, the long-ignored but necessary beauty of the world.
At first, I see you as the yellow-keeled Swainsona appearing with the rain–
the rain may cloud the sky, but your glowing bloom guides me
to the water. A sea of purple on hardy green invites birds to drink
sweet nectar; and even though you only flower when it rains
and the rain only falls twice in a year, your beauty is majestic.
Your truth and inspiration comfort me on long cold desert nights.
Once I felt the desert breath, radiating and alive, you came to me in a dream.
You said, “you search for wisdom, but you lack love, there is not one without the other.”
Your face was like a supernova, exploding energy, light, and elements
into the universe; you shone bright and were heard with the help of gravity.
You sunk deep into my mind and for a moment my thoughts were only
of the delicate sounds of an ecosystem in a harsh but beautiful desert.
That night, everything glowed with halos and trees vibrated turquoise and quarts.
When I crave wisdom, the southern appears to me on the bough
of a banksia, makes her call across the bush and hunts the truth at dawn.
I don’t mistake her distinct cry as that of the tawny frogmouth or
the graceful goanna, because I see her yellow eyes and brown feathered face
as she swoops off quickly to stalk mice or kill the stealthy flightless carcass beetle.
When I’m thirsty, the cracked and eroded riverbed swells with crystal clear water.
I join the crackle of red-tailed black cockatoos and the scream of galahs, join them
in laughter and dive bare-breasted into a billabong. The bush is speaking an ancient
wisdom that can only be heard by mystics, sorrowful or not, and as I lay surrounded
by the rhythm and vibrations of the universe, I feel your hand on my hand, and
my heart is heavy with your guidance. The desert speaks, and I listen.
The longer I push beyond my limits you are always there to comfort me,
appearing as a silver orb just beyond the horizon, glowing in radiance.
You are the nurturing light high above my weary, slumped, and aching head.
Your lamplight keeps me warm and safe like every burning timeless candle,
or like the lighthouse of Alexandria one-hundred meters tall and seen by all.
I have found you amongst sand and stone and succulents and in every bird and lizard.
On hands and knees, I used to beg to be alone so I could suffer in my solitude,
but as I do, you are always there burning bright beside me saying, “you are not alone.”
The desert tonight is green with the Aurora Australis two-thousand miles away from
where it should have been sighted – it is not electricity, but a constant reminder of you.