Stone of Dreamtime
The Ochre Pits, Australian Outback
by Trudy Wendelin
In raw, ochre realms
Aborigines paint the blood of ancestors
From deep palette of minerals
Onto desert landscapes…
As shadows of sienna
Fade into glowing winds
Through the ephemeral light
With burnt whispers of fire,
Mining emotions from eternity,
Excavating years from eons
Of ancient tears and flesh
Into a dense moment in time.
My heart resonates with
Sanguine memories of death
And dry, earthen tones
Upon pyre of mystic clay
In the golden shards of day,
Dawn’s horizon warms
Into haze of ochre hues,
Tinged with iron rust
And rocks of the spirit’s viscera,
Bloodletting dreaming tracks
With songs to sing into existence
My walkabout along a desert stream…
PHOTO: Aboriginal Ochre Pits on the Larapinta Trail, Northern Territory, Australia, 2004. Photo by Felix Dance, used by permission.
NOTE: The Ochre Pits are a popular tourist destination in Australia’s Northern Territory, approximately 60 miles west of Alice Springs along the Larapinta Trail. The pits consist of several layers of multi-colored, layered rock traditionally used by Indigenous Australians in ceremonies and for trade. The mine belongs to the Western Arrernte people. Prior to European settlement of the area in 1880, only certain men were qualified to collect the ochre, a natural clay earth pigment that is a mixture of ferric oxide and varying amounts of clay and sand.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The Ochre Pits are an Aboriginal sacred site in the Australian Outback’s West MacDonnell National Park. The Aboriginal people called Ochre the “Stone of Dreamtime” and believed it was the blood of the ancestors. They extracted ochre from cliffs for thousands of years, mainly for ceremonial purposes. According to the Aborigines, Dreamtime is the infinite realm, from which the spirits manifested the land, such as, these Ochre Pits and the people. They also performed Walkabouts, manifesting their paths into existence through hearing “Songlines” or dreaming tracks. During my solo travels in the Australian Outback, the Ochre Pits were my greatest surprise! On a 4-wheel-drive tour through the West MacDonnell National Park, the highlight was discovering and standing next to the Ochre Pits. This brought the Aboriginal Dreamtime very much alive for me. Even more, at the Ochre Pits, I believe that I tapped into the ancient, Aboriginal “Songlines” and created this poem from Dreamtime on my own personal Walkabout…
PHOTO: The author, taken on her camera by the Guide, alongside The Ochre Pits of the Australian Outback.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trudy Wendelin is a self-taught Poet, Licensed Acupuncturist, and World Traveler. In 2020, she published her first book, The Silver Chalice Sonnets, on Amazon. Her sonnet “At Walden Pond” was published in the poetry anthology Quothade. She wrote and co-produced a 5 Element Meditation Series, based on East Asian Medicine. Currently, Trudy is working on her second book of free-verse Travel Poems for publication in 2021. A resident of Seattle, Washington, she writes travel and wellness articles on her website truewindhealingtravel.com.
2 thoughts on “Stone of Dreamtime by Trudy Wendelin”
I am there with you. Wonderful poem. Thank you.
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Thanks so much Rosemary. I hear ya, so wish I was back there at the Ochre Pits right now. It’s a very spirtual place.