Deep Impact

 

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The last in my series of three travel adventures took us on a road trip from my home in northern New South Wales, up the Queensland coast to the twin, coastal towns of Agnes Waters and 1770 (also written as Seventeen Seventy), in the Gladstone Region of Queensland, Australia. Seventeen Seventy  is built on the site of the second landing in Australia by Captain James Cook and the crew of HM Bark Endeavour in May 1770. (ref)

I marvelled at the different flora as we travelled further north. Landscape morphology shifted and changed, and with it, the trees and under-storey plants, sometimes lush and sometimes scrubby. I wondered what stories were embedded in that changing landscape? How much had it changed since Cook first landed there? Indeed, over the thousands of years the aboriginal people were here before Cook?

It must be acknowledged that the land is always in flux – always changing – perhaps due to climate, geology; often due to the impact of humans. Although controversial, the latest epoch proposed by scientists, the anthropocene, attests to this. There are many influencing factors in the process of change.

The thought stayed with me as we continued up the coast to Cannonvale in the Whitsunday region. A family of Bush-stone Curlews were in residence under the house when we arrived. The parents were wary, their baby just new, but so well equipped with camouflage and the ability for stillness, to be almost invisible even at close quarters. These birds are endangered where I live, but in this region they’ve adapted and live in an urban area cheek by jowl with humans and other domesticated animals (irony intended). Although, listening to people blundering their way home in the wee hours of Sunday morning challenges the idea of ‘domesticated’.

I was keen to try the new restaurant that had opened since I was there last. Situated right on the water in a less populated area of the bay, I noted the deep drainage channels, the landscaped gardens, the new buildings and wondered about native animal and flora displacement. I make no judgements, simply observations. I enjoyed the whole dining experience as much as the next person.

While we savoured the delicious fare and gazed over the water to the emerald islands, a resort groundsman, hammered in a sign on the beach in front. In four languages it proclaimed ‘recent crocodile sighting’. The manager assured us the sign was simply required by law but there was no danger because the sighting wasn’t in the immediate area. Really? Don’t they swim? And did anybody bother to warn the crocodiles about the most dangerous species?

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I was keen to explore my impact notion further. The town of Airlie Beach is a tourist town, catering largely for ‘boaties’ and back-packers. Despite the impact of hundreds of boats in the man-made harbour, it’s common to spot turtles foraging for food. Although I’ve not seen one, sightings of dugongs have also been made.

The beachfront market has the usual ubiquitous assortment of junk for sale, but it’s the fresh produce that I was most interested in.

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On offer were varieties of locally grown tropical fruit and vegetables originating from South East Asia, the Americas and other far flung places, such is the variety of food choices that came with the diffusion of cultures. We were grateful for the Asian Australian seller advising on how to use the grated paw paw for best effect.

Some might label these changes ‘progress’. But what does that mean? Some define progress as ‘change in increments’. Others claim progress is ‘change for the better’.

I think it depends on context and perspective. Not in question, is the impact of change – for better or worse – and even on whom.

What do you think?

There’s no greater gift than thinking that you had some impact on the world, for the better. Gloria Steinem

If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito. Anita Roddick

 

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19 responses to “Deep Impact

  1. I’ve enjoyed following along, Robyn. It’s been cold,dark, and rainy in my part of Missouri where two brown floods. our greatest rivers, join and rush by like time itself. So imagining sunlight on open water in a far away land slows down time and enriches the moment. Your ease at description and that handy camera help even more. I can’t get over what a treat it is to be there and here at the same time. A mysterious, unearned pleasure.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Albert! I love the analogy of rivers rushing by like time. I’m glad I could bring some sunlight on water moments to you. To have impacted your life for the duration of a short read delights me. Being able to connect with other bloggers is my mysterious unearned pleasure so I know what you mean. I’m coming to your blog for a visit very soon.

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  2. Challenging post, Robyn. To me “progress” means moving forward in a positive way, so I usually only apply that word to my own activities, as in:
    I’ve made no progress with my de-cluttering plan.

    Change? Well, that’s inevitable. But when people are bent on bringing about change I learnt many years ago that two handy questions to ask are: Who benefits? and: Who decides?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a challenging concept I think Denise. I’m interested to hear how you view ‘progress’. I think most of us believe it to signify a positive move forward. But as you so succinctly point out it depends on from which perspective it’s viewed. Who benefits and who decides? Indeed! Sorry about the de-cluttering. I can empathise.

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  3. Too much to think about Robyn! Talk about complex issues …. so much of human “achievement” and “progress” turns out to be detrimental in the longer term. Just look at the current challenge with plastics.
    On a personal level we are currently cluttering as well! Slow work as the “who decides it goes” question can be contentious. Still the charity shops should benefit in the long term and we will certainly benefit from the space..

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. I’ve made personal progress by living ‘smaller’. Aspiring to the notion of buying only when I ‘need’ the item and not just because I ‘want’ it. The hope is, eventually I won’t need to de-clutter. But you’re right about the charity shops. Without your de-cluttered items they wouldn’t exist to help others.

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  4. I enjoyed reading this post and as a fellow Australian, can very much relate. Awesome quotes. I really like the mosquito line. It is always me they find when I turn off the light at night. (Visual image of me swatting my ear and head in the dark with a arm protruding from the sheet!!)

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      • I have screens so no need for a mosquito net, and yet some of the critters find there way inside, and I only ever hear them when I go to bed and turn off the light. That aside, I like the metaphor of a nagging conscience, as that is definitely the mosquito I prefer. In that it propels us to do something undesirable or something that we have been putting off for some time. We either live with the ‘mosquito’ burden or we deal with it.
        Progress is such a subjective term and only relevant to a specific point in time. As some of your erudite commenters alluded. Change is the one constant in our lives. We can’t necessarily fight progress, and I absolutely agree it is not always positive, but our economy is intrinsically geared to it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s always the one that escapes our attempts to keep them out. Mosquitoes and nagging conscience. Yes, progress is both contextual and subjective. Hearing your comments (reading and listening) helps me refine my own thoughts. Thanks for taking time to comment. I’ve enjoyed our chat.

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    • Dear Nancie, your words make me realise what a incredible experience it is to belong to the blogging community. We exchange ideas, world views and personal stories which all help us to understand ourselves and live richer lives. So, thank you too!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. cycled past the schoolhouse that Capt James Cook attended. Can you imagine setting off into the wild blue yonder with the hope there will be more land, I have seen many changed in my life – some good, some bad, but change is the one constant in our lives,

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    • Yes Brenda, like death and taxes so the saying goes. I cannot imagine how intrepid these early explorers were any more than I can imagine what the modern day venturers’ compulsion is to go into outer space.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is hard to be a member of such a destructive species. I wrestle with impact issues all the time, whether I’m gardening and guiltily enjoying a non-native that could escape, or reading by light into the night. There are people in my circle who hate humans, and begrudge all comforts. I have others in my circle who couldn’t care less what we are doing to the earth. So hard to find a balance, so hard to not judge, so hard to accept change when it means never seeing a salamander or frog again.

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