Places of Inspiration Part 7: Memories, Dreams, Reflections Among the Kookaburras on an Australian Mountain Lookout
Margaret Silf wrote a book called Sacred Spaces in which she explored the various stages of our life-journey in terms of geographical locations. Everything has a symbolic meaning – bridge, crossing place, lake, wood, ford, spring, river, well etc. in the ancient Celtic view of the world. And I have found that the value of a place for me lies not only in itself but in the extent to which my memories, dreams & reflections are threaded through it.
So it is for me with Jolly’s Lookout – number 7 in my Places of Inspiration. Halfway up a mountain near Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, it is a place where I’ve meditated, socialised, and reached turning points in my life. It holds memories and it has inhabited my dreams. For me, past and future coalesced here. The view has it all, in terms of “soul space” – a valley, a city, a bay, distant mountains. All these hold a symbolic power. Every different correlation has its own special symbolism for your life-journey.
Jolly’s Lookout is for me a place of solitary contemplation, nature observation and a place of joyful social gatherings. It is equally loved by picnickers and kookaburras.
You can see where Brisbane is here on this map of Australia.
Jolly’s Lookout – so named after William Jolly, the first Lord Mayor of Greater Brisbane - is a place of happy times – lunchtime picnics, night-time barbeques, gatherings of local groups who come to eat together then play games afterwards. In 2007 I was able to take my 12-year-old daughter there and she has shared my love of this inspiring mountain viewpoint ever since.
This lookout is in open eucalypt forest. If you continue up the road from here to Mount Glorious, you may hear bellbirds, and enjoy walks through subtropical rainforest.
At night it is the haunt of possums, their bright eyes shining in the torchlight as visitors come to hang their storm lanterns from the overhanging branches and prepare their barbecues.
And often if you come at dusk you will find a visiting goana, also keen to share your picnic.
It is likewise home to numerous kookaburras, who love their opportunity to swoop and snatch from a hapless visitor’s fork perhaps a nice chicken breast or piece of steak, foolishly lifted into the air, and held there for a split second before the mouth of the picnicker can close around it.
The view from Jolly’s Lookout is breathtaking. It takes in the Samford Valley, the city of Brisbane, Moreton Bay, and beyond that, further north, up towards the Sunshine Coast, the bizarre and fascinating shapes of the Glasshouse Mountains, so named by Captain Cook purely from the impression they made on him as he sailed past in 1770. During the time I lived in Australia – four and a half years between 1986 and 1990 – I visited Jolly’s Lookout many times.
Is there a special place where you have happy memories, perhaps of wandering alone, or a place where you were part of a social gathering or party that connects with the place itself in your mind whenever you think of it? Are your memories, dreams and reflections threaded through it? Please tell me about it. It needn’t be in Australia – it could be anywhere!