Alana Hampton and Marian Drew
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
Lorikeet Island is both real and elusive. It is a documentary tale that lies between lunar tides and human habitation. Like our bodies, it breathes, moves and changes and has a skin that breaks to reveal a labyrinth of roots and arteries. Situated between metaphoric undercurrents and a forest of trees, it has an under and above world of beings that come alive each day, drawn by lunar and solar rhythms. In our imagination it links childhood and adult memory and feeling, somewhere between the burrowing soldier crabs on pockets of sandy beach the morphing trees and the vestibules of lorikeet nesting holes.
This is a mangrove island, formed when drifting wood caught fluvial silts, drifting sands and water born seeds of sea washed mangroves. Here the mangroves linked their roots and
branches against the current and wind. Together they buffer the impermanent human settlements from a roiling Pacific Ocean, and are washed by passing tourist launches and jet boats, tested by king tides, floods and storms.
This island is the wilderness contracted in a growing manmade coastline. This morphing, delicate ellipse of remnant nature is a sanctuary for bird, fish, insect and crab inhabitants, subterranean and vertically resident in immersed vegetation. They live connected by sun and moon since the trees grew old and strong enough to tolerate negative spaces; the holes and hollows having slowly formed within their roots and branches.
To get there we pass the fast lane waterways and dodge jet skis and jet boats, paddling our kayaks. The gradual amplification of a biplane rumbles overhead, the hum of a houseboat generator and the outboard motors become a background noise as we focus on breaking the veil of the island. Here the sounds are replaced by bird calls entering as we do, a sanctuary. We feel the visceral shift, a peaceful sensation, a decrease in urgency, we pick up spare unnoticed time tucked into the folded spaces of the trees. Floating through this island is an invitation to hesitate, be present, lodge in a tree, be drawn by current or transfixed by reflections and textures of water, flux is apparent, deep rooted.
At night, the skin of the island is thinner and the spaces more subliminal, especially in lunar light or in the eerie quiet of a still dark moon in winter. Then, the invitation to pass through the portal seems inescapable. On these nights, the island comes way out to meet us. Trees lower their branches to the high tide mark, gently tracing the surface of the water. Their forms are mythical now as they shape-shift. This is a fourth dimension; oblivious to man made measures, the small becomes large and time slows. Here senses widen, a tingling, atavistic awareness that grows from the inside expands outward through the skin of the body.
It’s good to know these places exist in reality. There is a deep sense of home here.