There is a little track wandering into the tropical rainforest of Wooroonooran National Park not far from where I live.
Ninety years ago it was a major thoroughfare for mule and horse teams travelling between the Atherton Tablelands and the coast, some 40 km distant. These days it abruptly ends after only a few kilometres, the remainder having been consumed, over time, by forest regrowth.
I bicycle, or walk, or both, several times a week along this track for my physical health, but more importantly to provide me with a meditative interlude alone with nature.
Human arrogance being as it is, I tend to regard this little patch of the planet as "mine" for, only rarely, do I ever come across another person.
Of course it is no more "mine" than it ever was for the original aboriginal inhabitants who wandered around this country for many thousands of years, nor the more recent gold miners and timber cutters who, during the 20th century, plundered the environment for personal wealth.
It is also not significantly more "mine" by virtue of my being human, than it is for any other living organism existing within the rainforest.
These regular sojourns over very many years have taught me much, and continue to do so. Rainforest is alive, dynamic and inspirational.
To stand beside a huge rainforest tree is a sobering reminder of my insignificance and fragility in the overall scheme of things.
The knowledge that we will both, eventually, nourish future life on Earth by our provision of organic litter.
Cyclone Larry devastated this area almost beyond recognition nearly 3 years ago. Although it will take at least 100 years to fully recover, nature immediately got on with the regenerative processes.
Catastrophic events are part of the natural world…. a major event in the life of a man, yet simply a minor adjustment in terms of the evolution of our planet's geography.
The vehicle track today terminates in what many would consider a "dead end". Yet it is only such for those who choose not to abandon the convenient transport of our era, and explore the magnificence which abounds beyond.
Similarly, human knowledge and understanding of life and the universe is only expanded by those with the vision to see beyond the commonly accepted parameters.
My rainforest will continue to be my classroom and tutor, my source of inner peace, my cathedral of worship, my sanctuary from vexation, and my place for understanding the universe.