Monthly Archives: September 2007

Down the gunbarrel


In two days time I leave Perth on my motorbike to attempt again the trip to Uluru , that great red rock at the heart of Australia.  You cannot know how beautiful that sight is until you see it rise out of the red interior, grand and indifferent like death; bright and sacred like life.  To get there my friend and I will travel northeast for 900 kilometres to the small town that is the beginning of the Gunbarrel Highway. We will follow this until it becomes the Great Central Road. We will follow those ragged dusty serpents 1400 kilometres East across the Gibson Desert, through the Ngaanyatjarra lands past Warakurna and into the Northern Territory. 

A year ago I lay in the dust of an empty road, 800 kilometres from home and just 100 from the Gunbarrel Highway which we’d dreamed together for three years and smelt and lived and tasted.  They flew me home with my gashes and fractures; my friend turned around and rode back alone along the way we’d come together. Without bitterness or reproach.  Like a friend. 

As I nursed my injuries, I looked for things to do.  I became bored and I started this blog.  Now I only have some scars to remind me of that time.  In two days I will leave this virtual world for one so ancient you cannot imagine it even if you could build time like a mountain with your hands.  Maybe some black men can imagine this oldness; maybe their grandfathers and grandmothers could remember my country as a child.   

And me, well, in a few days I’ll  “see the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended/And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars.” (A.B. Paterson) Will I return to this blog?  I don’t know.  It seems somehow fitting to stop here at the point of starting again.  Just as I started at the place I stopped. 

Will we succeed this time? I don’t know but I will tell you this: in that tiny moment before the accident, as I flew unknowing and singing at 90 kph through the silent land, I was that rarest of things.  I was happy.


Filed under australia, friends, Gunbarrel, life, motorbikes, self