On our tour of north-eastern Australia, we visited several National Parks. Remarkable scenery with bushwalking and stargazing opportunities. Jagged rock outcrops surrounded by hilly bush and woodland forest. Ferns, sundews, and orchids in the damp gullies, fig trees, and wattles. At certain campgrounds, groups of kangaroos lounged comfortably between campsites, munching on the grass. Goannas slithered up trees looking for red-rumped parrot or sulfur-crested cockatoo eggs. At a few spots, we observed a koala nestled in the boughs of a eucalyptus tree, an echidna searching for ants, and kookaburras watching us from their perch. A rather large Huntsman spider crawled out from a campsite’s electric box. Although Australia also has some of the more venomous snakes in the world, like the inland taipan considered one of the deadliest animals on the planet, we did not see any snakes (except for the ones we observed while visiting the Taronga Zoo). I had never seen a Cassowary before. It looked like something from the dinosaur age with its blue head and scarlet neck. Truly amazing.
As well as experiencing and appreciating Australia’s exceptional flora and fauna, I also had the opportunity to attend the National Multi-Cultural Festival in Canberra; an iconic celebration of cultural diversity representing about two hundred unique nationalities. Eight entertainment stages hosted songs and dances. Two hundred and fifty stalls provided exclusive food choices: cassava and plantain, khao pad, gelato, bratwurst, Dutch pancakes, and tandoori chicken to name a few.
All afternoon we sampled delicious food, listened to music, and at one place stopped to watch about a dozen or more Ghanaian women, wearing brightly colored dresses, dance; their bodies and arms in sync to the beating of drums, exuding something I couldn’t quite put my finger on at that moment. It was so mesmerizing that I too began to sway back and forth keeping pace with some long-ago rhythm. The smile on my face grew and grew and as I turned to look at all the women, men, and children of all colors, of all ages dancing on the green grass, their hands waving in the air, tears rolled down my cheeks. There was so much beauty and strength in all that diversity. There was so much joy filling the spaces between us, embracing each other’s inimitability.
Diversity, whether it be a rare bird, an ageless animal, an irreplaceable culture, you, or me, is something not to ignore or ostracize but to acknowledge and celebrate. Strength lies in differences not in similarities.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
Enjoy the Passage of Time.
© 2023. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved