After twelve days at Bundanon, you begin to feel that you are part of the place. What never gets old is the silence, but that’s not lack of sound. There is the changing nuance of the weather that transports this valley through rain, thunder, dark cloud and clear skies, all in the space of a day. And nature: the wombat snuffling around after dusk, the birds that begin early and chatter all day, their movement across the roof a choreography of claws against the tin, the eastern grey kangaroos (mother and joey at foot) hanging out around the accommodation, others in the paddocks in front of the work shed, and still more thumping away through the bush as I walk the tracks around the ridge line. There is human noise — tradies working on the Boyd homestead drive past early and late and power tools hum distantly from the site, the caretaker mows constantly, keeping large paddocks of grass under control, and distant speedboats on the Shoalhaven River vibrate Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’ within the granite cliffs. The beauty of this ‘silence’ is that none of it is directed at you, the resident. In your seclusion an intense relationship between you and the work can grow, interrupted only by twice daily walks, swimming in the river, and time contemplating this landscape — cultivated around the farm and buildings, but wild and remote, self-contained beyond the ridge, vertiginous rock faces hanging into the steep slopes and trees reaching dizzying heights. At night, when the skies are clear, the stars hang brightly and distinctly. With nature and this environment both cocoon and witness, transformation may take place.
With grateful thanks to the Bundanon Trust.