Recently I spent some time in the Glasshouse Mountains of Queensland. They are in the Blackall Range west of the Sunshine Coast above Brisbane. They were named “Glasshouse Mountains” by James Cook when he sailed past in 1770 because they reminded him of the shape of the glass making kilns in his native Yorkshire, known at the time as the “English Glasshouses”. To the local Jinibara and Kabi Kabi people the Blackall Range was a special place where once every three years hundreds of people from many First Nations would gather to meet, feast and hold important ceremonies from the bountiful crop of the Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwilliii). The forests of the Blackall Range were especially attractive to the European timber-getters in search of red cedar, white beech, hoop pine, and various hardwoods of the eucalyptus trees.
A small remnant of the rainforests which once covered this mountain range is near the Glasshouse Mountains at Mary Cairncross Reserve out of Maleny. From the entrance you can get a magnificent view of the Mountains and you can walk through the forest as it would have been when the First Nation people travelled through it to their tri-annual gathering. They have many stories of the area and the best known one is on the Glasshouse Mountains themselves. You can read the full version of it at: http://www.glasshousecountry.com.au/glasshousemountainsaboriginallegend.html.
Briefly it is a story of a family with Tibrogargan, the Father, Beerwah the Mother and Coonowrin the oldest son who shamed his family and the Father now looks away from him and the others. The following photo-story is offered as my reflections on the things I saw on that walk around the Mary Cairncross Reserve. I welcome your comments on my reflections.
I walk towards the westerly sun through the forest.
The seat of reflection calls me, but the blue light of truth beneath it beckons me on.
The clear light of spirit shines on my path as I hear the birdsong around me.
Tree Spirit watches me warily as I go since much has been lost to the human invaders.
His wisdom will remain in this place of sanctuary so I offer my thanks for his presence today.
He has seen much of what I will never know and his strength is grounded in time.
The forest floor holds the grounded spirit which climbs through the ancient ferns and breaks upon the spirit of sky above in it’s red pulsing glow.
“Look up!” it calls and I see the soaring canopy of leaves that opens above me and brings life and light.
I stand in wonder at the family of trees and wish my own could stand together with me.
I know the pain of dis-connection as I recall the sound of fire and flood that hurried me on.
At last I know I can see again the group I turned away.
It is peace I feel as I gaze before me at the solid shapes of the family I shamed. I know their tears will wash their pain as the clouds gather above to let fall their gentle rain.
Tibrogargan and Beerwah have found their family again.