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Desert senses

Santa Teresa

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 19 May 2015 | Views [281] | Scholarship Entry

There isn’t much at Santa Teresa. On first glance, it is exactly like any other place in the Australian outback – just another patch of red sand in the vast expanse of nothingness, smack bang in the middle of the continent.

But Santa Teresa, or Ltyentye Apuerte to the Arrente people, is so much more, and less than that. Like any place, Santa Teresa will open up to you, if you let it.

Located a rough (read: jumpy, bumpy, rutty, jutty) hour drive from Alice Springs, Santa Teresa is definitely not your typical tourist destination. In fact, the presence of any sort of tourist vans would be guaranteed to get you a few laughs from the locals. Don’t let that stop you though, if you drive slowly enough not even your hire-car company can tell where you’ve been.

Driving into the community you will see the confronting and sometimes-harsh reality of life on a small community. You will hear nothing but the hum of humanity and whispers of the wild, and see faces expressing more than history books can describe. You will see laughter and feel the hot, dry sun on your skin.

Follow your feet; follow them up the rocky track on the hill behind the community, through the precariously balanced boulders and scrubby undergrowth. Rocks will slide as you stumble up the slope, the hot air filling your lungs. At the top, sit.

You will see everything, and you will see nothing. In the distance the red sand divides into rocky hills and scrubby vegetation and collides with a sky so blue and expansive you cannot help but feel totally insignificant. The sunset will fill you with a raw sense of roughed-up beauty and radiate the weight of thousands of years in a hundred different colours.

All you need to do is watch it. Take it all in.

In Santa Teresa, it is your senses that are the best teachers.

Tags: 2015 Writing Scholarship

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