The Milky Way

We are half way across from Woomera to Coober Pedy in South Australia.

A moment ago we stood together and looked up at the milky way, so dense, so vivid it looks like a cloud storm on an overcast day. Each star so vivid and patterns as rich as a tapestry map that Aboriginal people of Australia have guided themselves by for as long as these stars have existed.

Today we spoke about life, about future hopes and past laments as this little yellow car hummed over the asphalt and cattle grids on the way in to the Australian desert. We both reflected on our time up in Nepabunna, Iga Warta and through Spears Creek near Port Augusta.

We drove past large billboards that showed a belt buckle tightly fastened and the message ‘get your shit together’ emblazoned across in large text. Its the very same message that could apply to any number of other scenarios we saw unfold today such as the woman who having changed her baby’s diaper tossed it unceremoniously amongst a thousand other tin cans, cigarette butts, beer bottles, fast food wrappers and car litter.

The very same tourist photo vantage point overlooking the salt flats crowded with selfie sticks and kids screaming for their parents to hurry up and recharge their iPads. It’s those moments of sheer western capitalist consumer torture the we have to leave behind to find some country to breath in.

As photographers we know how to make a photo lie but out here in the Simpson desert everything is reduced to what is an absolute necessity. I am thankful and grateful that I’m able to look up and see a milky way, the campfire smoke filling my nostrils and distant hum of trucks approaching then passing.

How privileged we are to be able to even seemilky way when so many humans crammed into their little boxes in far flung cities careen from the workplace to their Jason recliner to shovel salted chips, nuts, pretzels and beer by the gallon down their guts. How simple life is out here where the only worry we have is dingos sniffing down outside our tent or the odd crazy red neck land occupier firing warning shots over our heads as we escape his creek bed, our cameras filled with an aesthetic honey pot.

So tomorrow we push on though Coober Pedy, stock up on gas and gasoline, water and batteries as we take off for Alice Springs, Uluru and all with the knowledge and understanding that this is a gift. We are on the country of those who protect it and whose mission mostly is to grow a society that has the foresight for generations to come.

The milky way is a mass of stars as big or bigger than our own sun. Each sun hosts a multitude of planets and between them all are an infinity of magical things our silly little human brains cannot fathom nor compute. In the scheme of things we are insignificant in it all and yet unless we look up from that million headed caterpillar that winds its way down mortgage streets we can’t see the stars for the trees.

We must look up, look out, listen with both ears and even occasionally take a deep breath so that we can be assured we are actually still alive, not the walking dead.

The following photos were taken by Liam on our trip yesterday. If you would like to see more of Liam's photos please navigate to https://500px.com/liam_wille