Elise Bonato

Entry #1

11.11.2016

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Would that you could witness the glory of these stars before me... Or that which I felt on arriving here.

Even before, in advance of my arrival, I knew—I felt it.

The pure beauty.

It is a strange sensation, knowing the ancestral bearers and the spirits of these lands have beckoned me forth to meet them, as if they were keenly aware of a contract between us that I merely happened to forget in my ignorance and idleness.

I was here to remember.

I am.

This land holds the weight of mutable estrangement. Historical, cultural. The edges are worn, the erosion crudely visible and yet soft, gentle... with curves that keep the wisdom, in all its weariness. In the periphery of my gaze, I see it peeling off the lake’s surface like oiled vapour.

My heart aches for those who were driven from this place. Their lands—ours. Once before, possibly.

Acknowledge your longing. The spirited adamance. And the loss. It feels familiar? Consider why. There the truth makes its rest, in that feeling.

The memories came thickly during the initial walk along the fire trails. The gatherers, the initiates, the lost wanderers. Women and men, even not that long ago who worked until their lips cracked and their fingers splintered white with cold. They still walk here and while my mind canted incessantly in response to the clear majesty of the landscape cradling me, every other part of my being heard and sensed the refractions from/of times past.

And yet present, in absence.

Curving my cheek to the jowls of a tree that held an energy so pure and ancient I felt tears cut my vision, I realised how much we truly have forgotten/forgone.

Silently, my soul gave then to its own manner of weeping.

In a way, this was simply a kind of recollection. Formless and yet visceral, the stirrings of knowing seized my centre into a bind, fierce and gnarled. Reminiscent of the ghost gum trees that feather the stretch of every mountain crest at every point of reference.

In a place as isolated as this, there is still the weight of all that it has held. The ligneous sentinels, silent in their tender; evidence as to having been witness to the fission of experiences here. Those that have vacated still linger in their own way, with palpable bearing. One does not have to consciously seek them. As I look out over the cradle of this alpine sanctuary, pursuing my own peace, they watch as well... mourning theirs.

Turn to the walls that shield you within them. Branch out your awareness to the street your stride catches upon. Consider the celestial bodies above us, regardless of their paling at the stark throw of city lights. What is the weight of they who have done the same in that/your place? The presence of their absence, heavy and swimming with all that is unseen.

As the mountain yield streams from the summit and the wild flowers beam their blessings, my heart bows to all who have walked here. And the steadfast core of my being chants silence in their haunting.

For I have them to thank for guiding me here. That is the reality of this work. I go where I am needed and I hold the space for those who will remember as I have.

In having returned from a lovely spring day at Falls Creek — walking, connecting and filming within the landscape — I will to acknowledge the ancestral people of this land: the Yaitmathang, Waywurru and Dhudhuroa. Thank you for guiding me safely to your sacred sites.


A passage, honouring the expanse of the Falls Creek horizon line:

Ensconced in the folds of your beauty, 'neath purity, present and presence are found One. Purge the stone and remember the light. Open, receive, connect.