[Extract: Trekking With The T-Team—Central Australian Safari 1981]




White Bull




The near setting sun bathed the land in hues of gold. Was this the right place? I recognised that bush, and those cliffs. After my exploration of the hidden valley in Mt. Palmer, I feared I’d become lost.


I followed the gully downwards, where, taking off my shoes and socks, I waded through two pools. I reached the end of the gorge. The creek disappeared over the edge in a waterfall.


Yes, I sat on that stone yesterday. I glanced at the flat boulder. There, smattered on the smooth grey surface, flour. Flour left behind from yesterday’s damper. A wave of relief flooded over me. I’m home! And over there, the coals from the fire Dad built for the billy tea.


I clapped and danced around the former picnic site. ‘I’m not lost! I’m found! I know where I am!’ I sang.


After changing into bathers, I began my descent of the cliff near the waterfall. First, I stepped around the waterfall. My canteen swayed in the air and I remembered Dad. Not wanting to over-balance as he almost did the previous day, I unfurled the canteen and its straps from my shoulder and hurled it down into the pool. Then I worked my way down the cliff. Upon completing my descent to the creek-bed on the plain, I swam through the water-hole, and picked up the floating water bottle.


After the swim, I shook off the extra water drops and checked the position of the sun. It still hovered above the horizon. Not as late as I thought. Thinking I still had plenty of time, I settled down to paint this golden scene. Besides I had to dry off before changing back into my clothes.


When the sun dipped behind the nearby ridge and the land shimmered in deep oranges and reds, I packed up my paints and prepared to change.


I commenced peeling off my bathers.


Thud! Thud! Thud!


I stopped and pulled my bathers back up. Must be Richard come to collect me. When no more sound occurred for some minutes, I recommenced changing, in slow stages. Every so often I stopped, and listened, then without further thudding, I continued changing.


Then, Thud! Thud Thud.


I paused, pants half-up, me half-crouching. I moved slowly, inching the pants up to my waist.


Thud! Thud! Thud!


I paused again. Topless, except for bras. Can’t be seen like this.


The clouds shimmered gold, red and orange. Sunset. I squatted, whipped up the tee shirt and shoved it over my head, jamming my arms through the holes. I looked, blood galloping through my veins.


Fully clad and with the sun squashed like a giant orange on the horizon, I fought through the thickets of spinifex my way back to camp. If they saw me, they saw me! I resolved that no peeping “Tom”, “Richard”, or “Harry” would stop me reaching camp.


Thud! Thud! Thud!


Oh, well, I’m dressed now. I looked towards the thumping. A white bull emerged through the scrub.


Thud! Thud! Thud!


White bull thundered towards me. He then stopped and stared at me. My hands on my hips, I stared back at him. So, it wasn’t Richard after all. As if bored by my clad appearance the bull turned, and with a thud, thud, thud, trotted back into the scrub.


© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2017


Photo from slide: Waterhole near Talipata © C.D. Trudinger 1981






2 thoughts on “WHITE BULL

  1. Wow that would be scary with the bull looking at you.
    We become emerse in our surrounds and wonder in awe at what our creator has made


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