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I’ve just completed the most beautiful Incubator. Flock 11.

It was this spectacular group of 4 people (we’ve been 7 and 8 and 12 and 5 before but this was the first time 4 and it was just as special as any). Every time we finish I say it was my favourite. I am a bit loose with favourites but, when I say it, it’s true. Every group is my favourite. Full of my favourite people. Full of my favourite epiphanies. Full.

There’s so much to share about where we got to and what unfolded, but last week I got an email from one of my “grads” from Kakadu. She’s not from Kakadu; she just manifested a bucket list trip in 5 weeks and found herself there. I kid you not; she wrote “Kakadu” on her bucket list in week 3 and by week 8 was there. We are such powerful manifest-ers. She wrote:

Swimming under the waterfall at Jim Jim yesterday, I had a moment of pure gratefulness to you and what you have taught me so far….

She’s an incredible woman. Farming. Writing. Finding ways to be herself more and always. She taught me things too. They all do.

Have you ever been to Jim Jim Falls in Kakadu?

When I got her email I came in a full-whooshing circle of life to the moment I stood below those Falls and looked up and wondered how it came to be. I was 19. I was studying Environmental Science at University and as part of our degree we had to undertake a practical component. Some people were studying intertidal mud flats in Townsville (amongst other things) and this opportunity came up for two people to go to Kakadu during the summer break (wet season).

I got to go, along with Ally (one of the super-cool hippy ‘mature age’ students who was probably 21). Our job for about 4 weeks was to assist with vegetation surveys through Kakadu National Park – part of study of the affect of fire on different vegetation types. Fire has long been used by the local indigenous population to manage landscapes, but dry season burning and wildfires were wiping out certain delicate vegetation types and our job was to help collect data. We counted lots of quadrants of plants. I got OK at identifying all kinds of grasses and weeds and vegegtation. We got to go to all the major vegetation types throughout the park, including places inaccessible to tourists and most people. We saw incredible rock art, and landscapes so breathtaking, and one day 300mm of rain (this was almost our yearly average rainfall for Ajana, so to see it fall it one day was unbelievable). I was damp for 4 weeks and my clothes all smelt musty. We slept on very thin camp mattresses and one night on a boat offshore to try and escape the mosquitos and it was so hot and there were so many mosquitos that I didn’t sleep for even one minute. I ate tinned mackerel for the first time, and even enjoyed it cooked up with vegetables over the campfire. Our ‘bosses’ were two botanists (a couple) and their son, plus a collection of park rangers. And we had to go to work in a helicopter.

I had no idea about the whole helicopter thing. I mean, I didn’t know a helicopter would be included. But after we completed the work that we could access by 4WD or air boat (it was wet, so we got to places over the floodplains – more water than I’d ever seen and trees full of pythons and lizards and feral cats just waiting for the ground to return) we had to get to the top of escarpment and places not accessible by 4WD or airboat. So we had a helicopter.

The helicopter pilot had trained in the police force in northern NSW and had spent most of his training spotting marijuana crops in people’s paddocks. His job was to fly us around, even though he didn’t know much about vegetation. We camped for a few days at the bottom of Jim Jim Falls. Each morning we’d get up and get ready and get in the helicopter and he’d fly us up the face of the Falls to ‘work’.

Once we had to land on the edge of the escarpment, and when it was time to go ‘home’ he’d just drop us off the edge. It was the most exciting and wondrous thing I’d ever experienced. The botanists and the hippy Uni students and the kind of park rangers who live somewhere completely isolated certainly opened his eyes. And he loved nothing more than to make us gasp on the helicopter ride. On the last day we packed up camp and he had room for one extra person to fly back to base. I got to go and he flew low along the river all the way. I got home with shiny eyes and a desire to become a helicopter pilot.

At 19 I’m not sure I knew how to be entirely grateful, or to understand what a powerful manifest-er I was.

I just accepted it.

As though helicopter rides and floodplains in airboats and flying up waterfalls was just part of my everyday. I didn’t even own a camera (Ally gave me copies of her pictures) and mobile phones were not a thing when I was at Uni (thank freaking god because there were too many costume pub crawls) so mostly the memories are just steeped in my brain.

In the part full of all the incredible things. Full of my favourite people. Full of my favourite places. Full.

Author Fleur

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