Today my friend David and I wandered around 'Birrarung Marr', the open space adjacent to the CBD commemorating Melbourne's Aboriginal presence. We listened to these bells, these 'Federation Bells', pealing, booming, tinkling, and continued wandering, to the National Gallery of Victoria's Australian and International collections.
Above, the back of Federation Square and its leaping steps I like to take one at a time.
A run of Moreton Bay figs along the banks of the Yarra River. It's winter now, and the air's cold, but this morning the sun was shining.
I love the handful of Eucalypts growing along here most of all, for their twisting and ancient elegance,
and I love the sculptures. Here, a cradle, a water trough, a shield? - we couldn't work it out, but I'd be happy to climb into it to keep me warm in Melbourne's winter...
or climb up on this totem, to reach higher to the sun.
Above, one of many splendid Gymea lilies, gigantic, monstrous, huge, they rise way, way up towards Heaven,
and here, one of a group of 'tribal' sculptures, an embodiment of actions and acts whose origins come from beyond this world, beyond this riverbank, but which, embodied here, tell of continuity.
However new this city is, it is in fact, one of the oldest settlements in the world,
far older than this Goliath bronze, created by Auguste Rodin in 1898 and cast in 1967.
This bronze, 'Tree of Life' ( 1961 ), by the Italian Pino Conte was perhaps my favourite view. The bells of Heaven swing not only above us and around us, but for us, with us.
Above, one of the many winter trees outside the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia's pre-eminent art collection. It's the stones around its bed that caught my eye,
when I wasn't gazing out through several Heavens...
or seeing objects such as these seats, themselves an artwork, a reminder of a heavenly place to recline.
Henry Moore's 'draped seated woman' ( 1958 ) knows how to recline well. Perhaps she hears the peal of bells from across the river...
...such as from this one, one of 39 in the Federation Bells installation, unveiled ( or heard out loud for the first time ) on Australia Day, 26/01/2002.
Time is nothing new. Its sounds ring out from way back when, when we were little more than airwaves...
who stood, eventually, like sculptures in a landscape, and made our sound ring out, and ring out real into the world.
With thanks to our Aboriginal forebears and to David, for making Heaven real to me.