Near where I live is the beginning of a 950km bushwalking track. Recently, I walked parts of The Bibbulmun Track, which is marked by small, yellow, triangular signs depicting a snake, the Waugal. The Waugal is the rainbow serpent of the Aboriginal Dreaming. I was following its well-worn, ever evolving, path. The power of its ancient spirit seeped into me, enticing me, guiding me, and mapping my writing journey.
I began close to the middle. I ventured out, looking for, following, the path of the Waugal. At times I lost my way, I doubted myself. I walked up and back along the same path. Each expedition had me looking anew and noticing new details, spotting previously missed signs left to guide my way.
Gradually I became more adept at knowing when to pause, to look around, and to retrace my steps, when following the elusive path of the Waugal. I was able to walk more intuitively as we became increasingly familiar with each other. I began to trust my step, losing my way less frequently. At times my thoughts and footsteps thundered through the bush and I would stop, put the work aside, and sit in silence.
Like the grammar of English, the track changes. It can be diverted at times due to circumstance. It is a constant learning journey. My first official expedition along the track coincided midway along my first expedition in an official grammar program. Both have, at times, baffled me and left me lost. Both challenge me to follow a well-worn path, yet find my own way, in my own way.
I am not at the beginning; I am not at the end. I will twist and turn, continuing along this winding path. One day I hope to walk its entire length. Then weave my way back, again.
* For more information about The Bibbulmun Track go to http://www.bibbulmuntrack.org.au