You have to look to see.
The renowned Western Australian wild flowers were at their best, after a wet season, three years ago on our last visit. Last week was the first significant rain they have had for two years in the area. The sky is now clear blue and the red dust is all caked and settled. Pauline is ready to roam the travel bugs are biting making her restless.
There is a nice scenic drive from Geraldton, on the Chapman Valley Road, through the grain-growing area to Nabawa then on to the old town of Northampton. The brochure called it ‘The valley of natural charm.’ When the wild flowers are blooming, any city slicker would agree, even doing the legal speed limit of 110 km/hr., one cannot help but notice the colourful flowers.
There is a sign look-out, we take the rutted, washed out side track. Did we misinterpret that ‘look out’ sign? Pauline negotiates the rough and gets us safely to a plateau high above the road. It is a good view but quite a challenge to photograph. The land has had a hard, hot and dry two years, we see tortured trees and acres of parched land, it is difficult to imagine waving wheat fields. Yet Geraldton is the second largest exporter of wheat in Australia. Lupins and legume crops are also grown here.
We stop to look at a little Anglican Church, it is closed, looks like it has not done much of the Lord’s business for a long time. Today we appreciate its beauty and the dedication the builders put into it. Man does some of his most wonderful works when religiously inspired and also some of his worst acts in the name of his religion.
We find a nice place to park, in the shade of one of the old White Gums, at the Chapman Valley Museum, where the sign said open, but the doors were closed. We could see the old farm machinery, but I was more interested in the gum nuts. I love to see the trees in blossom, but nuts fascinate me. With their vast variety of shapes and patterns and the way they look silhouetted against the sky.
The shadow of the fence and the aged White Gums with the old Toyota parked, I thought made a good photo. How could I show their character and how these trees spoke to me of years of the weathers hard extremes endured to be shade for man and a home for a diverse range of creatures, birds and animals?
Let me show you natures inspiring abstract art
and some creatures that find a home under the pealing bark.
When the gum tree is injured it bleeds red sap that dries like red gem stones. I cannot show you, I can only point. You must look to see the wonders of nature. Slow down, the speed of modern life distracts us from much of natures gifts. You have to take the time to look, to see and not be distracted.
Time seems to pass quickly when you are interested. I removed a small piece of bark to see if anything was there. Surprise! A host of stink bugs scurried off. They were not easy to photo using macro, it did not matter if they were blurred, haste always blurs things, and the patterns and colour of the bark was so nice. I was having fun.
Then Pauline from the wagon said. “I am ready when you are.” Once that may have excited me, but now it only roused me from my flirtation with Mother Nature.
Northampton has a lot of history with the lead mining and the building of the first public railway in WA. running from Northampton to Geraldton. The Church and convent are impressive buildings. I will leave them for Pauline’s blog. What interested me was the Family Store built in 1910 and still hardly changed from the stores I remember as child, thanks to the elderly couple running it.
A room behind the store displayed the best collection of old sewing machines I have ever seen. We had only $1 in small change to put in the donation jar. In the store there was a wide array of merchandise on display. There was a sparkly coloured glass crystal necklace winking at me and asking me for $20. I did not need it, or want it, still I bought it. There are always times when a birthday is forgotten, it is handy to have some nice trinket on hand.
The owner said “You know this is not an antique, I bought it in Perth last week, do you still want it?” “No I do not want it, I am only buying it to see you smile and I would like to take your photo.”
As the sun sank slowly in the west we arrived back home completing a round trip. To down load our photos and see how much of the day we have successfully captured. Only a memory of some of what one can see if one looks.