Friday, 13 June 2014

Misty Mountains

Mountains are fun places. It's so hard to be bored as the scenery constantly changes from one moment to the next, no two corners are the same, switching between crests and valleys. The stark contrast to the wide expansive plains of the outback only serves to heighten their beauty. How blessed am I that I am free to travel to places most people will only read about? 

It is hard to convey just how quickly and sharply this landscape changes. Even though my photography is improving, the depth of field is still resisting my best effort to capture it. Perhaps this image of a truck in low gear crawling down the main highway can give you a sense of how steep some of the roads are west of Cairns.

Trucks Must Use Low Gear
MacAlister Range, Kennedy Highway
The constant dampness of the wet tropics enables the flora to grow and thrive all year round. Luckily this same dense undergrowth helps to hold the soil together and prevent land slides from closing the highway. 

The sudden and rapid change in altitude from coastal plains to burgeoning mountain peaks transports us from a hazy overcast day into the midst of the clouds. Half an hour before we could feel the stinging burn of the sun through the haze we were now at the mercy of the water droplets being blown sideways into us. As we drove along safely cocooned with the metal cage that is our car, we listened to a man talking about business and his parable struck me because of the location we were in.

When winter comes most people in rural and remote communities are likely to be chopping wood for the fireplace to warm their homes. Can you imagine leaving this task until the last minute? The bitter cold and moisture penetrating every fibre of your being as you strive against nature to swing the axe with every ounce of strength you can muster. Swing after swing, blow after blow, only stopping to see your families faces pressed against the foggy kitchen windows. You summon all your strength in an effort to keep the pain of frostbite from the fingers of your loved ones. 

Harder and harder you swing the axe, with an ever increasing work rate the wood seems to be frustrating your every attempt to split it into manageable chunks. In your frantic last minute rush to cut some wood, your strained mind cannot recall sharpening the axe. But you are unable to stop, being spurred along this futile path hoping against hope that your actions are enough to chop some wood, any wood. You have managed to convince yourself that you are too busy to stop and sharpen your axe.

Busyness was the order of the day, dear reader, busyness not business. Are we too busy chopping wood to sharpen our axe? The axe doesn't necessairly have to be a farming implement, it could be your finances, the kids, workplace relationships, etc. Are we too busy following protocols and procedures to care for the means of production? Are we obsessed with meeting targets and overlook feeding workplace relationships? There are many analogies that can be drawn from being too busy chopping wood to sharpen the axe.

Misty Mountains
Not the Highway

Knowing we still had some 350 kms to travel before arriving home, we decided to take a detour. What the heck :\ ? You only live once right? Travelling along a dirt road without a name, we wound up at a place called the Misty Mountains. Misty alright. This one lane track is crowded in on both sides by dense tropical vegetation and shrouded in an eerie mist that only reveals the track one corner at a time. No orcs, dwarves, or elves jumped out, though that would have made our journey quite unique. But I did spy a wonderful wife underneath a fern that had grown taller than both of us. 

Tropical Ferns

Now I'm not a lumberjack so I don't own an actual axe, so several days after returning home I am still looking for my axe. I guess my will can be honed daily, wish me luck there :)

Let's Drive


  1. Oh yes, work keeps us busy. But it is a necessity to hold our jobs. There is always someone else waiting in the wings. Now being retired I can choose my busyness & I say that being busy is a blessing.
    Once again your pictures just amaze me.

  2. Thank you Victoria, for your continued support :) I am practicing with the camera settings and reading about different techniques the professionals use. Just hoping to make a little chunk of the internet more worthwhile.