U 11

Along the way people ask about where you have come from, where you have been and where you are going. Inevitably people talk about Ayer’s Rock. I was shocked to hear so many express disinterest. “Is there anything to really see there? I mean, after all, it’s just a big rock. What’s there to get excited about?” Responses from people who had been there was equally bland. I am not joking. No-one said it was incredible, well worth seeing. No-one said they loved it. So I was not sure what to expect. I certainly was not expecting good things.

As we were driving up Uluru appeared to be the lesser when you compared it to the Olgas. I was beginning to think perhaps everyone was right until the road curved and you could see the whole rock and not just the top and it was incredibly impressive. The closer we got the more the feeling grew and both Derek and I could not wait to get out and explore.

It was cold that morning, and the day did not look like it was going to warm up all that much so we headed into the main information centre which included the gift shop and coffee shop. We stopped to watch a movie that had lots of information but some lines that really hit me. It was basically the story of Uluru and what it meant to the aboriginals and how they fought to get the land back again, Each tribe feels a spiritual connection to the land where they were birthed. They feel a tremendous responsibility to look after that place and to make sure it was available to all of humankind to enjoy.

They addressed how the white man saw them and summed up the Aborigines by saying all they did was stand around in groups of 2 or 3 and do nothing all day. The film said that we see them as an oddity, and like to take pictures of them like they were some kind of side show. We come to the rock and take pictures of it and of them and go home with our pieces of paper and think we have seen Uluru and we don’t see what is really there because we don’t see with (and he tapped his forehead).

Perhaps there is some truth in that.

All I know is that we were both enthralled with the rock and the feeling that emanates from it. It is so much more than just a piece of rock or even what the most skilled artists or photographers are able to depict. I don’t believe it is possible to capture the whole of it because there is so much to see in the details that if you try to see it as a whole you just aren’t seeing it at all. Just to be there and to feel it, to move around it and see it as it changes colour with the movement of time and the conditions of the day – is breath-taking. It will forever be one of the most spiritual places I have been able to stand in.