When I despair that the world is changing too fast — or not changing fast enough — I often visit a favourite place: an outcrop of rocks in north-east Victoria.
I drive down the Hume Freeway, turn off to Beechworth, and bump along a track, winding through pine plantations, until I arrive at a gully in Chiltern—Mt Pilot National Park. I lock the car and walk past the motorbike trails, up a stone path dug by gold-miners, to the ridge, where there are no tracks. I keep going till I get to the rocks.
My favourite rocks don’t have a name. They have a presence. There’s this thing about a granite boulder. If you sit on a log in a quiet patch of bush, you can imagine you’re the only person ever to sit there. But when you stand by an enormous, round rock, you know you stand where others have stood and sat and laughed and slept since people first walked in that corner of the earth. Not far from here, a rock shelter bears a fading image, painted in ochre, of an extinct animal, a thylacine. [Continue reading].