Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Southern Highlands

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I recently spent time with my friend Kerry at her home in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

Kerry lives in the village of
Exeter. Pictured above is Exeter’s picturesque railway station, which was originally called Badgery’s Siding when it opened in 1878.

Above and below: During my time in Exeter, Kerry was taking care of a relative’s nine-week-old Kelpie pup. The pup’s owners hadn’t named him, and because Kerry wouldn’t be keeping him, she felt she couldn’t give him a name. We just called him either “puppy” or “no-name”! He was certainly a beautiful little creature, and both Kerry and I remarked on how unusually calm and mature he was for his age.

Even though I lived and taught in nearby Goulburn for six years (from 1988 to 1993), I never really spent much time exploring the Southern Highlands’ many beautiful towns and places of interest.

One of these “places of interest” is the
Sunnataram Forest Monastery (above) on the outskirts of the village of Bundanoon, which Kerry and I, along with little “No-name,” visited on Sunday, January 7, 2006.

For more images and reflections on Sunnataram Forest Monastery, visit my previous post, Learning from the East.

Above: His visit to the Sunnataram Forest Monastery was a bit too much for little No-name who, by the time we were ready to return to Exeter, was all “tuckered out,” as we say in Australia.

On Monday, January 8, Kerry and I drove to Jamberoo Abbey – a Benedictine retreat centre and abbey situated on the Jamberoo Mountain Road between the Southern Highlands village of Robertson and the coast.

Pictured above is a side view of the beautiful altar in the
abbey’s church. The beautiful candles on the altar are handcrafted by the sisters. Candles for a range of occasions can be purchased at the abbey.

Little No-name was a real hit with the nuns at the Jamberoo Abbey, with one of them insisting we feel free to take him with us when we visited the abbey church. The nuns’ own dogs frequently accompany them to prayer, we were told.

In the photo above, No-name is resting outside the abbey’s
bookstore where I purchased from Sister Gertrude two books (An Authentic Life: Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Everyday Life by Caroline Jones, and An Introduction to Spiritual Direction: A Psychological Approach for Directors and Directees by Chester P. Michael). I also found in the bookstore a beautiful set of Rosary beads handcrafted by the sisters from the seeds of the Persian lilac, also known as the Chinaberry or Bead Tree.

Above and below: The Southern Highlands township of Jamberoo - January 8, 2006. Earlier in the day we visited the town of Robertson where, in a little antique store, I found a second-hand copy of Doris Lessing’s autobiography, Under My Skin. I've been enjoying reading it ever since.

Above: This beautiful rose was photographed in the grounds of the Quest for Life Centre in Bundanoon. In the centre's bookstore, I bought an infomative book on Dru Yoga, something which I hope to get into once back in the US.

Postscript: No-name no more! Kerry recently informed me that she decided on the name Leicester for the little Kelpie pup featured in the above photos. Leicester is now with his brother back on the farm where they were born. Both pups are being trained as farm work dogs.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:

Learning from the East
Goulburn Revisited

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