The Dandenongs (2016)
It is cool here - above the plain.
The massive gums reach skyward
A hundred metres more,
Their dappled bark peeling to the forest floor
Where the tree ferns sprout in green abundance.
The forest is open in its search for light
And the new tree ferns rise up in lacy filigree.
The new fern tips - we call them korus -
Unfurling into the magestic light
Pale green against the instensity of the blue sky above.
So different to my New Zealand bush
And yet, the same somehow
Quiet and deep and sheltering.
This is an Australia I have not seen before.
It is full of silent beauty, settled cool depth
The bush silence broken only by the bird song.
Raucous bird song here
Not like the tui and the keruru at home.
And yet, somehow they fit.
This is a harsh country
And the Dandenongs are a soft spot
Hidden in the midst of raw plains
Like the soft underbelly of s spiny anteater.
Dandenong - who knows what it means?
Houses, cafes, tiny villages
Nestle along the road
Under the tall eucalypts.
But it is not these that we have come to see.
We have come to find The Sanctuary
Created by love and hardwork and vision.
Created by William Ricketts.
Within the cool untouched area
Of the highland forest he laboured
He moulded clay and formed immense walls
Spiritual, thought provoking, instuctural
Blending the Aboriginal laws with those of his
Christian upbringing and his mystic Indian adventure.
Mindful, even then, to leave to forest untouched.
The forest untouched that touches that place within each of us
That seeks what he has left here