I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
(This is a pre-publish version of an article I wrote for De Minimis, the unofficial Melbourne Law School student newspaper)
I have never met a person w...
What it means to be open-minded
May 13, 2018
(This is a piece I wrote for De Minimis, the unofficial Melbourne Law School student newspaper)
Something very troubling happened a few weeks ago.
Self-censorship, name-calling and political polarisation
May 13, 2018
(This is a modified version of a piece I wrote for De Minimis, the unofficial Melbourne Law School student newspaper)
I haven’t done much difficult stu...
Bracing myself for law school
May 13, 2018
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Through the eyes of a rock
December 2, 2017
Over the winter I was fortunate to be able to walk just over half of the Larapinta Trail, from the Telegraph Station in Alice Springs to Serpentine Gorge carpark. My attempt at the full length of the trail in 10 days was cut short when I aggravated an existing foot injury. Nevertheless, I made it 162km in 5 days plus a morning and enjoyed the hell out of it.
Because there already exists a huge amount of material covering the ins and outs of the trail and why you should walk it, I won't cover any of that. Instead, I want to recount a few of the standout memories from my (short) time on the trail.
One of the best memories from the trail was stopping for something to eat in a creek bed between Millers Flat and Standley Chasm. I was right in the middle of the Chewings Range, which is about as remote as the trail gets. I had just taken the high route to get views of the surrounding landscape, the descent from which was an incredible blend of scrambling down giant boulders and hopping over logs and rock pools. I was on schedule to meet my father and sister at Standley Chasm at 3pm (I walked in at 3pm on the dot after a 8 hour day of walking!) so I decided I could afford to take a break. I sat down in the shade of a boulder next to a creek bed, which was nothing more than exposed bedrock. Both sides were lined with the kind of sparse vegetation that can only survive in the deep gullies and creek beds of the ranges where water is slower to evaporate and the worst of the Central Australian sun can't reach. There was a sparse canopy overhead too, I wish I knew more about botany so that I could describe it. The were some kind of eucalypt and provided intermittent and patchy shade. Even though it was July, the sun was harsh and the still air was warm and dry. I was having Oreos for lunch, one of my Larapinta staples. I looked across the dry creek bed and saw, at first, one dusky grass wren. They're beautiful birds, and I had briefly seen one on the way Mt Sonder about ten days prior, but had been unable to identify it. I sat still and watched. In my experience, when you are alone like that and confronted with a novel and, for me exotic, bird, it's impossible not to be entirely gripped by it. You can't look away, you don't have a choice but to pay absolute attention to it. It was similar to the feeling of transfixion that comes with watching a fire. Another appeared and joined the first, hopping amongst the rocks and dry brush. Eventually there were 5 or so, and they were not bothered by me.
It's a strange and endlessly novel thing to be human and to have nature not be bothered by you. I guess it's such a fond memory because I felt I was being allowed to experience something that would normally be kept from me. The usual response of an animal to human presence is at least alertness, if not to flee; but sitting beside the rocky creek bed it seemed I was allowed a glimpse of the life of a dusky grass wren through the eyes of a rock.
Image by Peter Jacobs from Australia - Dusky Grasswren, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39568728