Recently I went on a 12 day pilgrimage with 10 other Eremos members into the NSW outback (aptly named Eremos in the Desert). We stayed at Trangie and White Cliffs before reaching remote Cameron Corner, on the edge of the Strzelecki desert, where the borders of Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales meet.
Here we stayed four full days allowing plenty of time and space to soak up our surroundings, share stories, reflect and ponder on desert spirituality and Aboriginal times past and present. What were my highlights? In summary, the landscape, the people we met as well as my fellow travellers.
Spending time quietly absorbing the rich colours of the desert and the huge canopy of the skies was a visual feast. The space and sparseness of the landscape enabled me to pause and reflect on how people respond to the rhythms of life in the outback. Time and time again we saw grace and grit in our encounters.
From Ken, who with his wife and son ran a 1.25 million acre cattle property to Fenn and Cheryl, the superbly organised managers at our Cameron Corner accommodation and Karin, the artist, potter and activist in Wilcannia, they all seemed genuinely surprised that we wanted to hear their outback stories.
In return, we felt it was a privilege to listen and be trusted with their unaffected openness as they generously shared their experience of outback life with a humble simplicity of spirit.
More anon about this special time.