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 On Autumn

Georgia Clifton

On a crisp April morning, I step out onto the damp, dew-splattered foliage that blankets the streets of Leura come this time of year. Autumn time. Deciduous trees of Japanese Maple, Golden Ash and Liquidambar border the otherwise ordinary residential streets of the Blue Mountains. Their vivid amber and tangerine hues reach 15 metres high, painting and splattering the sky-blue canvas of a mid-Autumn morning. A pair of Kookaburras, still and quiet, are perched side by side on a neighbouring branch, calm in each other's company. The temperature barely reaches past 10 degrees before 11 am this far up the mountains. I don't mind, I prefer it actually. The cold is the perfect companion to that first sip of hot coffee that makes the thought of the day ahead not so unbearable.  


I walk long enough to Echo Point that the morning mist has subsided and is no longer inhabiting my lungs. There - in all her unkept beauty, the rugged, untamed layers of the Jamison Valley look up at me, casting a light navy-blue stare as the sun has not yet changed her colours for the day. The celebrated eucalypts of white ash and scribbly gum trees create the famous blue haze of oil and oxygen that lingers over the entire valley. Almost the whole view to myself, making me feel significant and insignificant all at once. Like my small mark on Earth could come anywhere close to the 200-million-year-old Narrabeen sandstone that exposes the Gundangurra people's Three Sisters. The mind enters a state of complete awe, visualising the millions of years of volcanic eruptions, wind and rain that have formed, eroded and cleansed the northern escarpment into its current magic. I feel exposed to the natural elements whilst standing 940 metres above sea level, looking down at an eternity of natural history; the rational mind departs, and you're left with nothing but a divine appreciation for nature. There comes that obscure feeling as if I could dive in, and she, the ancient landscape, would swallow me up and hide me forever. Would that be so bad?  


Witnessing the natural world's biodiversity and intricacies makes everything else seem insincere and unnecessary. Continuing further into the canyon and further from civilisation, there is an abundance of native flora; Allocasuarina distyla and Banksia Serrata congregate together and work in an artistic equilibrium with the native bees; hovering and swarming the pale green and yellow inflorescence to feed and pollinate. A flock of yellow-crested Cockatoos glide in unison over the escarpment, screeching and squawking deliberately to complement their wild surroundings. Everything that once seemed unclear was now set straight. The deliberateness and consciousness of Mother Nature and her floral and faunal offspring is a constant reminder of the pointlessness of a civilised and materialised world which will one day be all gone, with nothing to show. And only nature will be left, or what we leave of it.  

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