Sometimes miracles are waiting just behind you…
Me in the sculpture garden, photograph by JourneyMan
This is a story of serendipity, circumstance and miracle.
This is my story of today.
Yesterday my JourneyMan thought he’d have a look at the National Gallery of Australia website – not really a usual thing for him as we don’t get there often. We are more into the National Library for their art exhibitions, funnily enough. He happened upon a new exhibition opening there – Culture Warriors – and thought he might like to go sometime.
Last night I had a night of photographic inspiration, so this morning when I loaded up my handbag, I included my big Canon 30D – not a usual thing at all.
We went to our usual Saturday morning haunts this morning and finished early, so JourneyMan decided to take me to the exhibition. We arrived and it hadn’t opened yet, so we roamed around the Sculpture Garden instead, photographing, kissing, exploring, playing with the spring time floss, scoping out the beautiful landscape for future photoshoots. We had so much fun we didn’t get into the gallery until half hour after it opened.
As we moved up the escalators, we spotted a group of Aboriginal artists waiting at the front of the gallery. We looked at each other with wide eyes and big grins – “Honey, I think something is happening today.”
Then over the loudspeakers, the Gallery tells us that the Culture Warriors exhibition was open, and in five minutes the Aboriginal artists from the exhibition will be speaking on all their paintings.
JourneyMan and I have a deep interest in the Aboriginal culture and artwork. I feel we have so much to learn from them on so many levels, and honour how deeply they love the spirit of this land and Earth.
We walked down to exhibition, and there is a large gathering with a number of TV cameras. A Ngunnawal woman welcomed us and the artists from around Australia to her ancestor’s land. At this point, my tears began to flow. I felt so deeply touched by her speaking of her ancestors and her land, and so honoured to be there to hear it.
And then the Aboriginal artists began to speak, sharing their stories about their artworks.
Can you say dream come true?
We moved from room to room. I have been changed by every artist’s story.
The old man with his grandson sharing the story of the flying fox.
A younger woman, not much older than JourneyMan, part of the Stolen Generation, and now reclaiming and preserving her culture through art.
The man who began to cry as he spoke about not knowing his language.
So many stories to share. So much healing to take place. So much cultural beauty and spirit to celebrate.
And then, as we moved in a large group into the next gallery room, my eyes glassed over with joy and I lost my ability to speak. There, in front of an incredible portrait of an Aboriginal warrior maiden, was my favourite Australian artist of all time: Julie Dowling.
I actually wrote about Julie on my blog three years ago, and not long after, I got an email from her and her twin sister Carol who had read it. At the time I was blow-my-mind-excited from the email. Can you imagine me today, getting to actually hear her speak? She was candid, warm, articulate and precious. She spoke about finding peace in herself as she grew older, and introduced me to a scientific term that I am already a spiritual believer of.
Ethnobotany is the concept that the more we disconnect from our land, the more unhealthy we become. In other words, touch Mama Earth everyday, and eat from Her bounty.
So by now my head was officially blown off, and was shooting festoons of glitter into the air at random intervals. When the crowd moved into the next room, I took a deep breath and introduced myself to Carol and Julie. THE Carol and Julie. Artists, writers, world-changers and goddesses. And they remembered me! Holy freaking mother miracle! I told them just how much I honoured their work and appreciated what they did. They told me they liked my blog. (Dude! Can you say best day EVER?)
I think I walked away from that on clouds. I met two of my heroes.
We walked into the next room to listen to the next artist, JourneyMan grinning as I made silent joy-shrieks in his shoulder. And then… the thought struck me. I really want to photograph the twins. The vision of the photograph comes to me, and I become obsessed by it. “I need to photograph them” I whisper to JourneyMan. For me, to photograph someone has become to honour them, document their soul beauty and truly see them as they are. It has become a spirit journey, a visual exploration of the divine.
The thought of photographing them struck me as too wild, too deep, too crazy an idea. I couldn’t possibly ask them. And we walked out.
And that’s where the story ends.
Then I opened a book in the gift store, and there were six photographs of the twins. And I realised that I couldn’t let it be where the story ends. I couldn’t spend my life wondering – what if? I learned in that moment that I could live with whatever the answer would be, I just couldn’t live with not asking the question. I walked back in, still full of fear, humanness and feelings of impossibility. I told my angels – “Please be with me. I am okay if this doesn’t happen. But if you put the twins in front of me, I will ask the question.”
We walked back, and there in front of me was Carol, with her smiling face.
I said “I have a crazy and wild question for you. It’s okay to say no, but I need to ask: May I photograph you and Julie?”
She said yes.
And I had my camera on me.
And I knew where in the Sculpture Garden I could photograph them.
And I was there. And they were there.
And we were willing.
It feels like every perfect part of life lined up today, for a huge mothership miracle dream of mine to come true… the camera, the question, the being there at the perfect time.
I couldn’t have planned it better. And maybe that’s the point: that the Universe is the Master of Creating Your Dreams for you. Just dream it, and follow your nose. And have little adventures for fun. They may just make your life path blossom with exquisite flowers.
Believe, Believe, Believe.
When you least expect it, your life will change.
Miracles are waiting to enter the wings,
(photographs to come)