Tuesday, 4 September 2012

WA Story Tour: Day Ten

I didn't sleep as well the second night of camp - not sure why, but woke a few times during the night. I had not got up for the early morning walk on Saturday, so I stuck to my decision and still got up for a walk today.

The path winds straight down towards a creek & dam, and I think we all did well to keep our feet over the slippery, rocky surface an uneven steps. There is a bridge, of sorts, across the dam, with a tree branch or two to negotiate, and again, we all did well, no-one falling into the drink!

After a rocky, slippery climb up the other side, we arrived at a track that was once a train line, now converted to a bike / walking path. We walked through a wattle archway, paused in the sunlit patches and to look closely at flowers or take photos. On this smoother surface, we could open out our stride and stretch our legs some more - though smaller legs needed the relief of a piggy back now and then.

On our return, we had a snack - for brunch was coming up later in the morning, before heading off on another walk, this time with most of the rest of the campers.

I invited people to walk slowly - we didn't walk far - and along the way, to look closely, listen carefully, and see what colours and sounds we would discover. We saw up to 15 different coloured flowers, many different shades of green, found a bird orchid we'd not seen before, some grey & pink cockatoos, and a bath in a stick hut covered with spider webs (the hut, not the bath); and we heard at least four or five different kinds of birds, including a kookaburra and a rooster.

This mindful walk was an invitation to pay attention to creation, and to God who is present in and with creation, and reveals Godself to us through creation. People expressed appreciation not only for creation, but for this chance to slow down and pay attention - a rare experience for many in our busy, active lives.

Brunch was fabulous - one last opportunity to share a meal and stories with the folk of Star Street Uniting, to soak up the atmosphere of care, joy, and warmth. I received a beautiful hand made card, which all had signed, and a hand made bookmark, in thanks for my contribution to the camp. Such a team effort had it been, that we really didn't single out anyone else other than the coordinating team. All appear to have had a marvellous weekend, relaxing, enjoying each other's company, thinking, moving, eating, and sharing stories. It was a privilege to have been part of this moment in the life of this congregation; a moment of anticipation for the transition back into life with a minister in placement among them in coming months.

As the last of the packing of cars and cleaning of buildings got done, we stood around chatting, formed a massage congo line, and I accepted the invitation of the children to join them on the ropes course. Not satisfied with showing me the course, the kids insisted I try it for myself: 'Please.' How could I refuse? And a story was born - of children inviting an adult to accept a challenge, then helping her to achieve this new task. I have promised Mia and Claire that the story will be told - and so it will, when I have imagined the mystery fantasy world in which the story will be set. Possibly fairies, or elves, or imps. Imps seem appropriate, some how ...

Back in the home of my hosts, I repacked my bag, which had become somewhat of a jumbled mess unable to be efficiently contained, took the hire car through the car wash & filled it with petrol ready for return the next morning, and sat in the courtyard blogging one more time.
Then we cracked open a bottle of red, and chatted like old friends - which has been one of the highlights of the week, the way it felt like I was staying with an aunt & uncle, like I had known these good folk all my life. Which, in a way I have, but mostly through the stories of my parents, who came to know Dianne and Bruce when they were in the Presbyterian Fellowship before I was a twinkle in my parents' eyes. Apart from our stay in WA in the 80s, and a couple of visits from them to Adelaide since, this family have been part of my family, my life, through story. And through telling and hearing those stories, I was able to share with my parents' dear friends as though I had been sitting down to meals and conversation with them all my life. Ah, the power of story, hey?

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