Chapter 1: In the Beginning...
|The site of Creation||The water holes where the Rainbow serpent came out||Water holes connect to the lake five metres below|
THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.
Tex and I are standing at one of the Site of Creation. To me it does not look all that impressive. A large mud flat expands in front of us. The mud is dry and hard and sun-cracked. A few small pools filled with fresh water are also visible. It is from them the Rainbow Serpent emerged when the earth gave birth to it.
|Skull of a wild goat, which got stuck and perished||Bubiyala tree with sweet and cool berries||Air vent of a frog sitting far below|
The earth gave birth to a snake and it wriggled all over the earth making all the river beds as it went. The snake then asked for the frogs to be born. The frogs were born in sacks of water so the snake tickled them and made them laugh. They laughed so hard that the sacks burst, releasing the water and filling all the river beds. With the coming of water to the land, all the plants, trees, birds and animals were made.
It is a hot and dry day with a deep blue sky – one of many of these sorts of days in this part of Australia. A buubiyala tree stands in a clump of grass at one of the pools. Tex pulls down a branch with purple berries. They are ripening and their taste is sweet and cool. I venture closer to one of the pools of water, but I have to retreat rapidly when the mud beneath my feet unexpectedly turns soft and threatens to pull me down. The small pools of water are not as innocent as they look. They are in fact the outlets of a deep underground lake, holes of water penetrating the mud. I suddenly understand why the mud flat is full of the whitened skeletal remains of wild goats. Seeking the precious water, they have became stuck in the mud and perished.
The mud between the holes feels strangely wobbly under my feet. Tex jumps up and down and the water in the waterholes ripples. We are standing on water! He explains that the mud is at least five metres thick and covers an underground lake and a system of underground water channels, which are fed by the Culgoa River some 25 kilometres away.
The Rainbow Serpent is gone, but the frogs are still around everywhere in the Nhunggal country, although we cannot see them. They sit at least one metre under the surface in their water sacks and breathe through an air canal, waiting for the next flood.
Must be a lonely frog life these days, with laughs few and far between...