Canberra

4 hour drive to get to the capital city of Australia.

We left around 6:30am, so most everyone slept the entire way.

I didn’t want to miss the scenery though.

So I say with my music on & my head against the window

Looking for kangaroos & enjoying God’s creation.

I tried to think about it land before the “white fellas” took over.

I imagined the nomadic Aborigine families hunting & storytelling

& dreaming & communing in their red land.

I found that Sigur Ros is beautiful soundtrack for my imagination.

My fantasies were cut short by a stop at McDonald’s.

The irony is unbearable.

We continued on our journey with a visit to a town called Bundanoon.

Australia’s first “Bottled-Water-Free Town”.

A lady gave us a presentation on how & why they decided to

Take on the endeavor.

It was very inspiring & made me consider trying something similar.

Their community worked together to make it possible.

How beautiful to see loving people get together

To change something they care about.

It made me wonder why so many church communities fail.

We arrived in Canberra & the scenery was rather anticlimactic.

Our first visit was the Parliament building.

I was surprised the find Canberra’s arcitecture very plain.

The politics however were contrary to the buildings.

We sat in on a Senate hearing about internet prices.

One Senator yelled and insulted another & talked to us, the audience.

It was invigorating.

We juxtaposed that visit with some time at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

A solemn protesting Aborigines living in a tent community outside Parliament.

All around were signs that cried for justice.

The biggest simply saying, “Sovereignty”.

An “eternal flame” was lit in the middle to pay homage to the oppressed.

We met a woman names Aunty Jude.

A heavier set Aborigine woman

Beautiful with age & wisdom.

She had sadness & anxiety in her eyes & demeanor.

She had just got out of a court hearing for her 2 sons.

Aunty Jude took time to sit & share with us

About the oppression of her people.

Her voice cracked & her eyes welled with tears

As she expressed her desire for equality & respect.

She told us to close our eyes as we listened to the song

“Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution” by Tracy Chapman.

A song I’ve heard many times but failed to capture the meaning.

My heart aches for these “orphans & widows”.

I have yet to discover what I am to do about this hurting nation.

The next day we got explore the National Portrait Gallery,

An art museum with hundreds of beautifully crafted portraits of

Influential Australian people.

It was so refreshing being able to dwell in a place of beauty

& intellectually discuss the pieces with my friend Liisa.

The last portrait was a digital video portrait of one my

Favorite actresses, Cate Blanchett.

Her beauty radiated in the captivating portrait.

She explain what it means to her to be an artist

& study different characters.

Finally someone I could identify with.

We also visited the National Gallery,

A vast art gallery filled with hundreds of famous original pieces.

I saw originial Monets, Bacons, Warhols, Picassos, Matisses, Nolans, etc.

Again, soul-refreshing.

I was almost brought to tears as I stared at the large Monet piece,

Thinking about how much I studied his work in Mrs. Knoll’s

Art classes & how influential he has been in my artistic journey.

It was hard though.

The insensitivity of my peers took a toll on me.

Art is a culture I identified with.

A culture in which I find community.

Hearing the complaints, misguided critiques, & sarcastic jokes

About beautiful works of art really hurt.

I felt a mild form of cultural offence.

It gave me a small germ of understanding of what my

Aboriginal brothers & sisters deal with every day.

We ended our time at the ANZAC War Memorial.

Another heart-wrenching place.

It was a beautiful homage to brave men & women

Who are in or have been in the service.

It had two giant walls filled with names & red poppies,

Very similar to our Vietnam Memorial.

It was solemn, yet beautiful.

The lack of respect some of my peers showed

Was rather embarrassing & sad though.

I am learning love & patience in a whole new way.

All in all though, Canberra was a success.

As hard as it was, it opened my eyes & heart to a lot of truths.

& we saw our first kangaroos on the way back 🙂

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