16 October 2017

Songlines: tracking the seven sisters

Canberra is a comfortable drive from my home, so it's easy to visit there for a couple of days. We specifically went there this week to enjoy three places in our national capital: Floriade, Parliament House, and the National Museum of Australia. All enriched us.

At the Museum, we experienced the Songlines: tracking the Seven Sisters exhibition. It was powerful and dream-like in some places and outside any of my existing knowledge.

The belief system of Indigenous Australians encompasses the faith that objects, places, and creatures possess spiritual essences. As part of that belief, songlines are the paths across the land (or sometimes the sky) that show the tracks of creator-beings during the Dreaming. 

Recorded in stories, dances, songs, and paintings and passed down from generation to generation, these paths include knowledge about landmarks, waterholes, and local animals. The Seven Sisters songlines are among the most significant of the extensive creation tracks that crisscross Australia. 

This special exhibition at the Museum runs until 25 February and it is fabulous. Make sure you download the app before you go so you can listen to the Seven Sisters guide you through the exhibit. (If you can't get there, listen to the app anyway. It's terrific.) 

Be uninhibited and lie down in the digital dome to immerse yourself in the only known Seven Sisters rock art site and see stunning vision of the sisters flying across the night sky. It's the best part of the exhibition, in my opinion.  

I don't know what to make of our Songlines experience. I'm not sure how to process what I learned but I do know that it's an exhibition that has broadened my thinking about a different belief system. 

Have you seen it? What is your reaction? 

09 October 2017

My book of the month: October

Reading is an intensely personal relationship between me and the book I hold in my hand. I immerse myself in the world an author has created as if the story was written solely for me. 

I've read all of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series and, after finishing each latest book in the series, I declare that it's her best book yet. You must be tired of me saying that!

In Glass Houses, though, Louise Penny has taken her storytelling to a higher level. 

I was about 80 pages from the end of the book and I knew I had to remove myself from all the domestic noises that were surrounding me. The suspense was intense and I needed to completely focus on where Louise Penny's words were taking me.

So I took myself upstairs and, after making a nest of pillows on my bed, curled up and fell again into the world of Three Pines. All external stimuli disappeared as I absorbed the action.  I was drained and awed after finishing the last word.

I'm not going to explain what happened in Glass Houses - you can read about that on Goodreads - but I will say how satisfying it was to read a story written by an author at her prime. Powerful.

02 October 2017

On being patient

Finding your own pace can take a lifetime or, if you are lucky, you can discover at a young age the speed at which you want to live your life. I now realise that I always knew, deep inside, that I wanted a slow life. The common culture around me thought differently. 

It's difficult to resist the pressures, real or perceived, that surround us. Aim for the sky, you can do anything, climb that career ladder, it's time you were settled down - this is not one-size-fits-all advice. All that rushing around simply makes me anxious. 

Slow down, be patient, and reap the rewards.

I prefer to nurture the nourishing activities and valued relationships in my life. It's satisfying to plant a seed and watch its whole life cycle take place. It's gratifying to share a secret smile and touch with the person I love. These are the moments that enrich my life and they are the rewards of patience.