I am, we are all very small in the Kimberley. This natural world is so vast, so grand, it overwhelms and swallows us little humans. Incredible beauty of an ancient landscape with fossil records providing proof of life lived some billions of years ago. The landscape and it’s story is ever present and a constant reminder that this is a unique and wonderful part of the planet.
We’ve been in the East Kimberleys for over 12 months now and lived through the full cycle of drama that nature acts out. The wet built forming tremendous clouds and storm activity, heralding rains that failed and disappointed. The dry season was a delight and we were able to get out and explore more remote pockets in relative cool temperatures (although always avoided the hours between midday and 4pm). We were excited to host visitors; Francois, DLee, EdieK, and our 91 year old neighbour from Currrarong Connie Heap, and show them our favourite places. This is high tourist season and the town of Kununurra doubled it’s population. The car parks filled with 4x4s loaded with equipment to survive the wilderness and perishable food disappeared from the supermarket shelves faster than it could be restocked. Locals were forced to queue for a beer or coffee and to wait at the roundabout for the tourist coaches to pass.
This is also the event season when those in the Kimberley celebrate outdoor life again. Rodeos and horseraces, the Ord Valley Muster , The Wyndham Bastion Concert are the big events that draw locals and visitors. They all take place in the great arena of the Kimberley. We were thrilled to attend all these and observe the social interactions of the people, Aboriginal and others, of this remote world.
The unique flora and fauna of the Kimberley has evolved over millennia to survive the extremes of weather. Plants flourished in the Wet and tinged the red of the dry season in green. Boabs lost their identity in a covering of leaves. The birds that have so fascinated and occupied us during the year also have their seasons. The ever present whistling kites riding the heat eddies in the dry disappear in the wet. Bowerbirds disguise their ugly call with the songs of others to impress the females and lure them to the bower. The finches and honey eaters, unknown to us before, have been constant visitors to our tropical garden oasis. The numbers of frogs, lizards and toads dwindle during the dry and reappear in numbers with the rains.
We are preparing to leave Kununurra as the build up to the Wet one again starts. I will leave with a heavy heart. I have loved being here and having a rich Kimberley experience. There are very few of us humans in the vast Kimberley relative to other parts of the planet. We are very small, very humble in this grand magnificence.