Trains, buses and planes, part 3

It’s a plane: Alice Springs to Brisbane without a camera. I love a window seat on a plane, as long as it’s not above the wing.

Lines of sand dunes with and without vegetation. It’s the Simpson Desert. It’s an Aboriginal dot painting. How do they see the landscape from the ground? No planes, satellites or virtual reality. Extraordinary. I’m reminded of Yami Lester at Mimili in 1979 when the flowers were blooming in abundance. He saw, he knew, despite his blind eyes.

Plains rutted and lined. It’s Channel Country. It’s a Maggie Welz ink drawing on paper. Which way do these streams run? It’s impossible to tell from up here.

All too soon, roads appear. They’re easy to see because they are straight and everything else is randomly curved and fluid. At first not many but then more and more they break up the landscape, along with paddocks defined by fences.

The dots reduce to just along the watercourses and then disappear altogether. Green circles created by centre pivots leap out of the landscape. It’s the Darling Downs. The bush reappears ordered into blocks, 5 acres maybe, each with an access road to a cleared area. They aren’t the dams I at first think; they are cleared house sites. They are like a grid across my window view.

The mountains reach towards the plane and then the announcement to prepare the cabin for landing as we pass Toowoomba.

Welcome to Brisbane, the building site.

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