By Susanna Mills

A life lived close to nature, is a life lived in the arena of consequences. This is a place where you have freedom of choice, but no freedom from the results of your actions- which you must live with. What happens out on the trails, doesn’t necessarily stay on the trails. You carry it back home with you in the form of a complex mix of emotions, memories, and the physical goods that you used out there. But, when reflecting on your experiences in nature, you find what lessons they can teach you and then you move on- hopefully better equipped for the next ride or walk- and life itself…

I told my ‘city slicker’ friend to enjoy the view, but not to stand on the edges of the rock platform. I watched him wander down to the little waterfall and then a bird of prey caught my eye. Seconds later I looked for him again and to my horror he was standing a mere 50cm away from the edge within a fault line area blissfully unaware of either the crack in the rock surface or that the rock hollow there penetrated another 1.5m into the rock right under his feet. He was standing on the rock platform equivalent of exceptionally dangerous thin ice!

This is why we must daily cultivate our looking and listening skills while learning a personal respect for, and awareness of each other and our surroundings- particularly when we engage with any natural environments. For far too many humans, the only platform they engage with consistently is an online one and they have lost, or in this case, are quietly losing, their social, practical and physical skills. But, no matter how experienced you think you are, NEVER gather together, stand or sit on the edges of sandstone rock platforms to admire the view when riding or bush walking in Greater Sydney, or anywhere else for that matter ! When looking at sandstone rock platforms from the top down, hollows are often not visible- particularly while enchanted by exploring fascinating formations and distracted by the beautiful views they offer to the intrepid Bush Lover. All of them, however, feature dangerous sections which are alternately slippery, loose, faulted or very deeply hollowed out and these sections could therefore collapse at any time, so please, err on the side of caution and stay well back from the edge. Being sandstone, our rock platforms are tangible, visual examples of nature’s slow and ancient processes of change and attrition.

Stay curious, but remain focused and pay attention! And don’t ever let that tempting #instamoment be fatal.

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