Saturday was the first time I had seen the Pacific ocean for a while. I always feel a return to centre, a sense of humility and awe when I gaze out on to that immense blue. It was the first body of water that I remember swimming in, though somewhat further north, and over the years I have spent time in many glorious places that look out onto this massive swell.

Tuross Heads © Tracey M Benson
Tuross Heads © Tracey M Benson

Tuross Heads is a very beautiful little spot on the south coast. We have stayed a couple times now in different AirBNBs and really like the coastline and the quiet location. On Saturday morning it was a bit choppy and up on the high tide mark lots of dried out Bluebottles were tangled with seaweed, threatening to sting. I was stung last year by one on my foot. It was hidden quite deep in the sand and like today, quite high up on the shore. My second toe blew up three times its normal size with massive blisters. I couldn’t get a shoe on for more than a week. I have pictures but will save you dear reader from that gruesome sight.

Bluebottle © Tracey M Benson 2017

Anyway, I am in a strange place right now. It is good to be back in Australia, back with my loved ones and my regular life of family, friends, creativity, work and study. There were many things I missed about my home country.

But at the same time, I feel like I haven’t quite left Norway. I reflect a lot on the time I spent there and the friendships and projects that have evolved in the past months. There are ideas that are just taking form and I know that I will return to the green North. I also miss the incredible beauty of Norway’s forests and fjords. It was an amazing feeling to be able to stand barefoot in the forest and not worry about nasty biting things haha!

In the last few weeks of my residency, it seemed like time sped up, and before I could catch my breath, I was on a plane home. One thing I did do before I left was to gift some runes I made from stones from Drammenselva back to the river. For some reason the wooden carved whale seemed to be an appropriate place to leave the collection of stones.

A couple of days later, I walked back past the whale and looked for the runes on the rock. They were all gone. The rock they had sat upon was under water and I couldn’t see any in the water. The river level was not only higher, Drammenselva was running faster as there had been several days of rain in between visits. This cygnet was swimming close by, looking for fish.

This couple of lovebirds were hanging around the bridge upstream.

Over the three months I lived in Drammen the river was my constant companion. I walked along its banks either upstream or downstream every day. For an ocean girl it was an amazing experience to learn about the river and its flows. Its different moods reflected and responded to the weather, most spectacularly when in play with the sun and wind. The most incredible sight a few days before I left was to see the fog run with the flow of the water. It was moving fast, in contrast with the fog on the land which was gently and slowly rising with the warmth of the sun.

The slow rising fog is much more reminiscent of cool mornings in Canberra, lifting itself gently from the valleys to slowly evaporate if a clear day comes. Other days it doesn’t quite lift. But this fast river fog was something else, it is a shame I did not have my phone that morning to take some pictures.

Back to the Pacific. As we wandered along Plantation Beach we saw many small shells but no stones suitable for rune making. Then this perfect stone appeared in my path as I dipped my feet into the sea.

A stone gifted by the ocean @ Tracey M Benson 2017
A stone gifted by the ocean @ Tracey M Benson 2017

I have not quite decided what symbol I will use yet. I do have a special one in mind, a binding rune, conceived by one of my Norwegian friends who is also my rune guide.

In the coming weeks, I will bring together a set from what runes I have at home. This set will be the basis for the VR of the Journey of the Ancients project with Josiah and we plan to make them using Unity and some photogrammetry magic. One thing I really love about following this flow of process is exactly that. The tying together of quiet moments reflecting and being mindful and present with the possibility of creating an immersive space offering ways of recreating that meditative space by the use of technology. I really enjoy the play of space and connecting experiences.

All of these random thoughts are also feeding into how I am working through my MSci research. A workshop in London in August explored the question of ‘how might we approach transformational change for complex challenges in the future?’ The workshop was convened by Australian Futures Project and co-facilitated by Fiona McKenzie and Megan Seneque. There was some very interesting confirmation of some of my research about taking a holistic approach and also looking at ‘transformational change’ from the many aspects of how people are affected. I was particularly encouraged to see that the process included matters of trust, understanding power dynamics, engaging the heart and also the importance of relationships and allowing oneself to be vulnerable.

The other thread that runs through this weekend at the coast and reminiscing about Norway is the connection through water. Whenever I encounter water that moves I am reminded that it is the element of connection. I love the way that at the mouth of the river the energy of the water flows both ways, churning in the push-pull of tide and the joining of many streams into the river downhill.

So much bubbling around in my brain right now. It will take some time to filter and distill which I plan to enjoy. After all, it is all about the process.


McKenzie, F1., Beaudoin, Y., Birtles, J., Chatterton, P., Gillinson, S., Killick, S., Mannov, A., Munk, J., Roberts, A., Rose, V., Seneque, M., Siodmok, A., Trebeck, K. and Van den Broeck, D., 2017. A wayfinder’s guide to systems transformation: 18 insights for catalysts and convenors (PDF), Report from the Workshop ‘How might we approach transformational change for complex challenges in the future?’, 30-31 August 2017, London.

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