Bush Medicine

On the highway between Alice Springs and Uluru, I came to a small roadhouse. Four elders sat out the front under the shade of an old worn out canopy. The dirt was dark ochre and had seen more than its fair share of sun. There were three woman, one man and they were talking to each other in their local dialect. I went over and crouched with them. One elder pointed to a painting that I might like to buy. She started bossing the male elder to move the art around, seeming to say ‘put that one there, no not that one, this one’ She was getting exasperated. She walked over deciding she would do a better job herself. While she wasn’t looking, he turned to me and rolled out a single canvas like a map. It had three big honeyants surrounded by witchity grubs on a solid black background. They told a great story and seemed to move on the canvas. I said “you know I want that one”. He held up his hand to hi-five me, his energy stopped on my palm, held it for a moment. I could see the sky reflected in his eyes and he smiled and nodded. “Ya betta buy ‘ers or I’ll b’in trouble” we both let out a private giggle as the woman poked and moved him out of the way. It suddenly dawned on me that she was trying to show me a tryptic. He picked up his honeyants placing his painting right in the middle of hers, letting out this loud laugh, a gorgeous hearty smile beamed as he got into an old Holden Kingswood with no doors and drove away, leaving a cacophony of mischief behind him.

Bush Medicine


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