Last week I was in Margaret River in Western Australia, giving some talks at the Perth Anglican diocese clergy school. I arrived before the conference started and so was able to have a 'Wednesday Retreat' on Monday morning, before we got underway.
It seemed important to connect to the place we were and introduce myself to it. So I walked through the little town - full of cafes and providore type shops - and headed for the river itself.
There was a 'rain garden' just before the river - trees, bushland and water grasses, designed to clean the polluted run-off from the road before it entered the river itself. Some of the shapes were stunning.
And then I came to the river itself.
My Mum's side of the family is from WA - but from the wheat-belt. The south-west of WA is renowned for its beautiful tall forests, and even in the short walk off the highway I came across some extraordinary Marri trees with stunning bark.
It was a greyish morning, but the reflections of the forest in the water were amazing.
And this too, is a reflection!
The question of 'country' is a fascinating thing. The more I become aware of the significance of this notion in Aboriginal culture, the more I wonder about my own sense of 'country'. And I realised that, although it is so beautiful, this Margaret River country does not feel like home to me - the forest and water feel a little dark and enclosing. I am more at home on the high plains and open fields.
But it was a privilege to visit the country of the Wadandi people and to enjoy its beauty and mystery.