As a tour guide and photographer I’ve always enjoyed trying to tell the story of the Kimberley in a way that is interesting and relatable, whatever that story might be. As a photographer hopefully the images tell part of that story, capturing the colours, the landscapes, the weather, and the oftentimes elusive wildlife. As a tour guide I try to tell that same story with words - the history, the geology and the story of the Kimberley’s rich biodiversity. The story of the Kimberley, of course, is also a story of the elements - the floods and the fires, the Wet and the Dry. And it is also a story of Aboriginal culture, with galleries of ancient rock art reminding us people have been here for a very long time. My Mitchell Plateau blog, in that sense, has been the perfect platform for sharing the story of the Wet season through both words and images, and by extension, telling a broader story of nature's larger forces at play, alongside some of the finer and exquisite details.
The Wet season story as it unfolded turned out to be a story of anticipation - the 'Build-up'; waiting for the rains, and the excitement when the rain finally came. It was the story of dramatic storms, thunder and lightning and big, black skies. It was the story of waking up to unexpected flooding and being left speechless by incredible waterfalls. It was also the story of transformation - watching dry creeks flow again and a dry, dusty landscape come back to life - dry grass transformed to lush green and dusty roads transformed into rivers. It was also the story of fleeting encounters with weird and wonderful wildlife, and the story of changing colours and changing moods. And for all of the excitement it was also the story of finding rewards in the quieter moments, and the silence, and the opportunity for reflection. There were moments of being inspired and moments of being tired and discouraged. Moments of being elated and moments of questioning everything. In that sense it has been eye-opening in more ways than one.
The last 7 months has also reinforced a few things that I already knew: I have always been pretty independent and very comfortable on my own - perhaps too comfortable - but I'm also aware that sometimes life, and adventure, and laughs are best shared. I have also been reminded of just how satisfying it is to create - to start the day with a blank canvas and end the day with something beautiful, something meaningful. And I know more than ever, despite the local politics, that the Kimberley is a deeply spiritual landscape that transcends any one tribe and any self-interest. It is a place that can nourish and elevate the soul. It is a jewel that should be protected, preserved and celebrated. Let's hope we have the sense to look after it.
My sincere thanks to Cathy Goonack and Kandiwal community for sharing Wunambal country with me.