They trek north of the Alice towards Black Tank Bore.
Trekkers behind her? She worries she’s delaying them. Ahead of her? She could lose sight of them, be left alone.
They rest against rocks, sucking on oranges laced with red sand. Teeth music.
Far below, tracks of the Ghan, that long, cross-Nullarbor train, like her tracks, irrelevant in the vastness.
God, the silence.
What is she doing? Trying to connect to landsong older than Jerusalem? Trying to see whether the place her parents sailed to after their camping nightmare (concentration not outback) offers more than synagogue high-holy hymns?
What is she thinking? Trying to write pencil-and-paper lyrics in the wild? Leaning against tree trunks. She needs caffeine — sometimes shot with vodka — to activate that driven urge; she needs street-cacophony, searing synapses, to incite her lunatic finger-gallop over keyboards.
White-hot improv, city soul. Something to do with strands of urban DNA, ghetto blood,.
But, she admits, if she’s already there, she must commit to memory — so she need never return — the eternal canticles of rock and Spinifex rising from ground that only grudgingly allows her to sit on its raw-boned lap.
Songlines shiver. She is an uninvited guest at a party 100,000 years old.