CloudCatcher 2017 - Theme and Story

Our community-dreamed theme for CloudCatcher 2017 is: 

Cradled in the arms of our mountain, we turn deep within. 

Vital forces rise.
Labouring with our familiar shadows: fierce feelings and gritty parts,
we flow into a song of synthesis. 
Reforged, our tempered dark hearts become our armour of love.

Our story for 2017 takes us deep into the heart of CloudCatcher...

Cauldron shaped, cradle shaped, garden shaped, story shaped … CloudCatcher.

This is a story of the place where the clouds meet the earth …
Molten fire seethed, coursing between the centre of the earth and its surface for hundreds of millions of years.

Oceans and land were shaped and reshaped, pulsing with fire and
tectonic movement and forty million years ago a piece of an ancient southern landmass broke free.

Volcanic forces danced along the east coast of this land, birthing a string of eruptions until, twenty-three million years ago in this place, an immense column of magma pushed through ancient weathered plains, lava streaming out to smother the hills and valleys.

The lava comes in great waves, cooling in layers, while mighty eruptions scatter ash and rock for tens of kilometres. Finally, three million years later, an immense shield volcano has formed, two thousand metres high and a hundred kilometres in diameter.

Fire shapes the mountain ….

And waters come, shaping the dome into a cauldron. Rains wash over its peak and sides forming into streams and rivers, endlessly.

The land is carved into valleys, plateaus and hills as the rich earth breaks down and settles over the slopes of the caldera, revealing the hardened volcanic cores. This water flows north and south, and west to nourish the vast inland plains, and often, eventually, east to the sea.

Rivers weave layers of fertile soil in the valleys, coiling into wetlands and deltas of sediment and out along sea currents. They shape the coastline and contribute to the formation of great sand islands and tropical seabeds to the north.

Sometimes the water flows strong, sometimes quiet, as the seas rise and
fall and the skies are dry or wet. 

Water shapes the mountain ….

And life comes to this mountain cradle, in flourishing succession. Enzymes awaken vitality in stone, lichens and mosses claim barren surfaces, creating root holds for seeds colonising the new soils in waves of green forms. Rainforest settles the slopes, mantling the land with diverse lifeforms.

The peaks and valleys, the cliffs and water ways become a wilderness with trees, ferns, vines, flowers, mosses and fungi. Fish, mammals, reptiles, frogs and invertebrates move through the mists and shade, and the area becomes a haven for an array of birds.

At sea the great whales use these peaks as landmarks as they migrate along the coast between the southern ocean and the warm seas and coral reefs north. Ecologies build up in complex, fragile layers creating interconnected systems. Here refuge is offered to hundreds of rare species that vanish elsewhere in the shifting world. 

Life shapes the mountain ...

And people come to this mountain garden; waves of people bringing their ideas to the landscape. The First Peoples come. They live with this land for tens of thousands of years learning its places, its ways and creating story and ceremony and giving names such as Wollumbin and Wulambiny Momoli; shaping the land and being shaped by it. Some are the Bundjalung, the Yagembeh, and there are other names, some lost. 

Sailing along the east coast almost two hundred and fifty years ago James Cook names Mt Warning for the clear landmark it gives when navigating the area from sea.

Then the paler skinned people from Europe come, colonisers arriving as prisoners, farmers, adventurers and those seeking profit. There is conflict with the First Peoples and atrocities that remain unreconciled for generations. Explorers come and recognise the wealth of this land. They take trees for lumber, creatures for furs, they dig soils for minerals. Farmers follow, reshaping the land for their own purposes. They bring new laws and new creatures; plants and animals.

And more people come to the land of the mountains, who appreciate its beauty and wish its protection, creating national parks and heritage areas. Biologists come, and geologists, fascinated by its complex treasures. As cities flourish to the north and south, counter-culturalists come, drop-outs and rebels seeking a different life; bringing intentional communities, permaculture, different spiritualities.

And then come witches to this land, and shapeshifters, magicians and priestesses, weaving magic, walking myth and working relationship with this living land, seeking to be changed by it. 

Ideas shape the mountain…

Cauldron shaped, cradle shaped, garden shaped, story shaped … CloudCatcher.