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We have been travelling.  As usual it was inspiring, frustrating, exhausting, exhilarating, bewildering and enlightening. I will probably write more about it as I have time to process all the experiences, but for now, I will start at the end.

The end of every trip is also a beginning.  You arrive home again a slightly different person.  If you really travel with an open heart, to see and experience new things and allow it to change you, you will be changed.  Arriving home to an Alice Springs which was dull with drought, dust and unseasonable hot temperatures was disappointing.  It was as if I was locking myself away from that exciting world I had been part of for the last 7 weeks.  A two month accumulation of issues to resolve at home took any remaining energy we had  left.  And there wasn’t much.

Post holiday tristesse set in.  My body was in immediate need of a weight loss program to take off the pounds I gained from all the wonderful eating.  (At least I knew where every delicious calorie came from this time!) Having awakened mid-Pacific time, it seemed an early morning walk would start the day nicely, never mind start to work off those extra little pillows I’d acquired.

The rising sun highlighted the mountains neon pink, then orange.  A light breeze was cool enough to refresh my skin but not so cool as to need a jacket.

Lavender festooned Jacaranda trees showered blossoms onto the ground over which I tread carefully, hating to be the cause of their further demise.  Near the end of the walk I have a favourite detour that winds me through a small woodsy access lane.  As I passed through my eyes went to the gravesite that is there.  Rasool Goolam was buried in this spot, in days when such things were allowed.  He was an Afghan Cameleer, so the story goes, and was one of the people who helped settle this area early last century.  He was from that same Afghanistan that we now lose our fellow countrymen and women to.  He was probably Muslim, and possibly as peace loving as you and I, or not.  That was then.  Now I pass his grave and wonder, what would he have thought if he had known people like myself would see this place of his forever repose?

As I left Rasool’s grave a hypnotic aroma caught me.  I knew that smell!  I looked around, then up, and above me a rain tree, in full blossom, was buzzing with bees.  It made me just a little giddy, looking up, perfume swirling through my nostrils.  Perhaps it was a kind of magic spell, being cast over me!  I fairly floated toward home until I came upon the two ghost gums on the corner.  They had dropped their modest coverings, smooth bare skin, flawless and longing to be touched.   By then the sun was higher in the sky and outlined the tear shaped leaves like red-rimmed eyes weeping for a loved one.  How could I have forgotten what it is like re-discovering this place every time we come home?  It’s almost worth the journey just for that.