Eremos in the Desert (EiD) reflections …on silence

We read John O’Donohue’s poem For the Traveller on our first full day of our travels. It begins:

‘Every time you leave home,
another road takes you
into a world you were never in…’

Having been on the EiD organizing team for over two years, I thought I knew what to expect but I was wrong. I knew I would love the huge spectrum of colours, the changing landscapes and the stimulating conversations with my fellow travellers, yet in retrospect, it was the changing silence that touched me.

O’Donohue’s line ‘…when you travel a new silence goes with you and if you listen you will hear what your heart would love to say’ spoke to me, often. Exploring and savouring the ‘new silence’ in each place we stayed, especially at remote Cameron Corner (where we stayed 5 nights), was an unexpected joy and a unique experience. The sounds of silence (sorry) were distinct in each place and almost tangible. Winds rustled, birds sang, lizards scuttled or sometimes absolutely nothing. Bliss! Powerful and provocative, they [the silences] triggered a renewed honesty in my quest for truth.

Later in his poem, O’Donohue writes

‘the compass of your soul
might direct you towards
the territories of spirit
where you will discover
more of your hidden life…’

So true! On reflection, the space and clarity from these songlines of silence have given me more freedom to be myself, to become more creative and more confident of my inner beliefs…or ’to be a pilgrim’ in John Bunyan’s words. I have become more enriched with life especially in my passion for exploring the truth in Aboriginal history – more of this later! Eremos in the Desert will linger in my mind and spirit for a long time.


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