I spent a special weekend on a road trip with Sharing Culture colleague Michael Liu and two good Aboriginal friends, Cathy Coomer and Tommy Cooper. The purpose of our trip was to visit the Cooper family in Geraldton, a town located about 300 miles north of Perth.
On Friday, we headed to Jurien Bay, located about halfway to Geraldton, where we were to stay the night. However, we were turned back onto a detour about halfway there because of a bushfire. Soon after, we had a punctured tyre. Not a great start... but we would benefit from one of these events later!
I was deeply touched by the welcome we had in Geraldton. We met four generations of an Aboriginal family and had such a lovely time. There must have been about two dozen people there and the family had laid out the most amazing spread of tucker (food). I just couldn't get over how a family that did not know us (other than a few knew Tommy) could be so welcoming.
We talked to various members of the family, did some filming, and I was in my element playing with one of the children, And Mike was in his element, tucking into the food. Seriously though, it was a very special experience and we are very grateful to the Cooper family for helping make such a special day. It was lovely to see Cathy and Tommy connecting with the family. Mike and I know we have some special new friends in our lives.
On the way back to Perth on Sunday, we stopped off at a place where Mike wanted to film Cathy. The bushfire had passed through this area, leaving the most amazing scenery. I cannot begin to tell you what it looked like and no photograph can capture the sheer beauty of what I saw. It really touched my heart and soul. As I immersed myself into the scene, I realised that I had connected to country in a way that I have only ever experienced twice previously - once was when I visited the Daly River in the Northern Territory.
In the photo above, you can see a patch of green. I'm not sure how the bushfire skirted this area, but clearly this was an area where the wildlife could find some safety. As Mike was filming Cathy, we saw about eight kangaroos emerge from the bushes and hop away into the burnt out area.
The weekend was also made special by the footage that we managed to capture on Mike's film cameras, as well as my personal reflections on healing. There is no doubt in my mind that connection - to family, country, culture and spirituality - is a key facilitator of healing.