The drive from Narrandera (NSW) to Orbost (Victoria) is a long and windy 6 hour journey through the Victorian Alps past the skeletal scarred remains of dead trees still standing from a long ago bushfire. A summer drive though the quiet snowfields and the near vacant infrastructure of Mt Hotham Ski Resort and down into the beginnings of logging country. Piles of stacked logs ready for the mill.
On any long drive from our home, it's not just the change in land type and vegetation that is fascinating, but the resulting change in colour palette. At the moment at our home it's all brown; golden brown, faded brown, all types of brown. In the alps it's different again, a landscape quite foreign to me. There's a shimmer at times, a silver that looks soft from afar.
Earlier as I was slowly putting off my departure, held in place by a desire to linger and be present amongst our own place, I saw 4 kangaroos, 1 fox, 1 echidna and 2 rabbits within a 10 minute period in our garden. As I descend for a week into Orbost, ready to explore the consequences of logging at the dried up mouth of the Snowy River, I wonder if I'll be lucky enough to see any comparable wanderings of wild animals.
I arrive at the house in Orbost, my home for the next week. Everyone is gathering and I unpack, ready to settle in for a night before we start to explore together tomorrow. I end the day re-reading Kate Rigby’s paper “Dancing with Disaster” to prepare my thinking for the morning.
I have often said that in order to navigate complex situations on a practical level, we first have to learn how to navigate them emotionally. This has been a key idea that I have been exploring in my arts practice for several years, trying to understand what that really means and how to go about it.
Rigby says in her paper,It is only within the political economy of industrial modernity that the countervailing tendencies of wonder and care were sidelined in favour of more ruthlessly exploitative attitudes and actions".
It is this wonder and care that, through my arts practice, I am trying to discover for myself and also reignite for others despite such complex personal, environmental, social and political realities.
"We need to hone our skills of dancing with disasters".