Four gates on the track-tough to close-keeping
thousands of cows in their tired pasture;
a salt lick thrown on the ground like an abandoned yellow rain slicker.
One flat tire on what is barely a road, just before the crest of the hill
that will be camp, fire ring, home. This is the place where the rainbow serpent
arrived, accompanied by baby lightnings and beings of land, sky and water.
This is the place we ate kangaroo tail, cooked over glowing coals, greasy, good.
There is a new moon smiling at us in the western sky.
My spirit lightens and the walk down through a cleft in the rock wall
is with a porous mind, slowly absorbing the energy of this site:
A large pool, ochre oozing out of the ground, paint and more paint
and story and silence.
Ingaladi is the place where rainbow serpents came from the water
and spit flashing forked lightning to the sky.
The rain comes down and everything emerges from creation’s mud and light.
This is a place where one must connect “sinew to soul” and enter,
not as a tourist, but as a pilgrim, a humble observer. Time shifts to
a continuing present; the eyes of the serpent look back and the songlines
lead us through the dust and stone to our own healing.