The Bush Camp

Off the rusty road, past
burnt out cars, broken bottles, 
fractured toilet bowl,
at last 
through dense bush,
a path appears to
spear down a ridge
through rifts, by rocky outcrops,
slows to drift past grasstrees, epacris,
dandled clusters of persoonia berries.
The backpacks bob, sway,
billycans rattle and collide,
a scrub wren darts toward the sky.
Finally the undulating line,
shoulders of sweaty walkers,
struggles through 
jumbled flood-worn boulders,
crosses the creek’s divide,
pants up the other side.
The stream
makes a sudden bend
in the valley,
a long pool glimmers 
beyond a beach –
white river sand;
surrounding hillsides studded
with ancient twisted trees,
rocks, caves, and there
on straight tall stems,
gymea lilies flare.
Nothing has changed 
for centuries.
Here the slow cycle of flood, fire,
of growth, decay, regrowth,
change of seasons,
daily shift of dawn bird chorus
to hot noon’s silence, night’s groping 
of yabbies in dark depths.
Now in daylight
watery boatmen draw
long v’s on the silken surface,
water hoppers skitter
The only sound eerie cries
of passing crows.
Tents are broken out,
billies boiled,
conversation starts up 
and slows.
Hour by hour peace
wafts on the breeze,
filters deep in sunlight,
spills slowly from the stream
until, with sleep
and moonlight,
all is still.