Years ago when I was travelling back and forth on my daily commute to Canberra, past the infamous and mysterious Lake George, I had what can only be described as an ‘out of body’ experience. As I drove past the steep craigs and thick Australian bush, I ‘heard’ or felt the sound of a deep beat. It wasn’t perceived with my ears…rather my whole being. It was what I can only describe as the sound of the earth itself.
Lake George is an anomaly in Australia. It doesn’t have a known water source and is an endorheic lake (a drainage basin that retains water and has no outflow). Water seems to appear during the rainy season and recede during the successive hot weeks and months. I’ve seen it almost bone dry, and full enough to lap the edges of the highway. This day was clear with blue skies and sun. It felt like I was driving into a haze with a pulsating, ever-present, earthly beat. I shook myself out of this state, as I was driving. A little unnerved, I continued on my way to work. I never forgot that day.
Around that time, I had a dream I will also never forget. I was at Lake George and alongside me walked an Aboriginal Elder. He showed me a landscape that was destroyed, but in the distance, beyond the blackened and broken trees, was the lake. He pointed me to it, and I understood I was to cross that barren ground by myself and that, one day, I’d reach the water. I became aware that there would be trials to undergo, but that reaching the water was the goal.
As with most things that come from these rich esoteric realms, it takes time, and experience, to understand their meaning. After that dream and my experience at Lake George, I lost my dad, my mum and my sister, and I went through cancer surgery, chemotherapy and radiation – all within years of one another. Life dealt me huge blows and the opportunity to grasp hope and have faith that the lessons would reveal to me a sanctuary of understanding and wisdom.
We’ve all been in this place, and we’ve all had to climb out of it, stronger than before.
I wrote about my dream at the time. I know that place the Aboriginal Elder pointed to was a metaphor for coming back to my heart, changed yet renewed. In hindsight, the dream and the subsequent poem were prophetic.
One day I remembered, what I was supposed to do.
I thought of the ground I had walked on,
This earth; this lifetime,
Across green fields, and dust, and fire,
Always towards the lake’s edge. To the water.
I walked beside a guide on my journey.
I didn’t look into his eyes; I feared that.
I remember he pointed to the water,
A million miles away, across alien landscape,
Barren and destroyed by…I’m not sure.
I only knew I had to cross that wasteland,
With its dead trees and murky shadows,
To get to the water, for whatever his reason,
For pointing to it, as if I knew.
I remember now that water nourishes,
And quenches thirst.
It carries things away,
Like words and thoughts, and experiences,
And leaves something new, and clear.
I crossed that barren land…like he said,
To find myself, and now to write these words.