Well, I’ve made it back to the Blueys and I’m feeling so stoked to be here. After the rugged, austere beauty of winter in Tasmania – all those fierce black dolerite columns speckled with orange and white lichen, windswept plateaus with their tiny knots of alpine flora and onyx snow-rimmed tarns – the Blue Mountains in summer feels so delightfully soft. I missed the rustle of leaves in a warm northerly breeze, the afternoon glow of orange sandstone, the easy warmth of summer evenings in singlets at the crag, laughing with strangers, the sight of lyrebirds and their jolly lolloping gait. I missed them all in the deep void way, surviving in their absence, unable to pinpoint the emptiness. So it’s good to be back.
Things happened while I was gone over the winter. Four of my good friends are now pregnant (well, officially two: two couples, four friends). Another had a child over the winter, a smiling little ball of bub taking it all in, sitting in a pale purple squishy chair on the kitchen floor. The office where I work was re-carpeted and there are heaps of new staff around.
In August, Centennial Coal spilled tonnes of black mine waste into the Wollangambe River, a beautiful wild river that snakes through the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains. Oops! This is the river that a lot of the canyons I guide flow into, warmer than the canyons themselves, and we used to drink from it. Not anymore. In a sense this has the potential to be good, because Centennial Coal have been quietly dumping toxic wastewater (25 megalitres per day?!) into the river for 30 years. It’s possible that the horror at the sight of this black sludge event (and associated media attention) could mean they have to lift their game.
And there was snow, big snow, top to bottom snow which fell from the treetop plateaus where all the villages are, right down past the sandstone cliffs to the valleys, which is almost unheard of. The photos were awesome.
That’s it for now.
I’ll be posting from the Blueys for a little while. More coming soon.