“Art must take reality by surprise,” said Francoise Sagan. I kind of relate to that because a few weeks ago we were surprised and jolted from our road-trip reality to find a collection of inspirational and eclectic pieces of art housed in a dense  Karri forest in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park.

Approaching Walpole I saw a sign to what seemed like a road less travelled. “Let’s turn left here”, I said, so we did, swerving off the highway as Dire Straits were belting out, “Do the walk on by,” over the iPod. Talk about serendipity because within minutes we were walking in a natural wonderland. The stillness of the forest was almost spiritual, just the faint rustle of a breeze to be heard, and birdsong. It felt as if we were in nature’s cathedral, no need for pomp or ceremony, it simply just was.

At the risk of getting verbose here, Saul Bellow said: “I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.”

Arrest our attention, the Art Loop did. We walked in silence around the approximate 800 metre woodland path trying not to let the forest itself distract us. We stood still at the “spaces for introspective contemplation”, and considered the various pieces. There was solitude.  Stillness.  A certain largesse that you couldn’t quite put your finger on, and mystery which the use of glass and reflections compounded.

The Golden Torus, is a thought provoking piece of art, like a beautiful rusty halo. Of course He Himself had to snap an uncharacteristic goodly pose of me appearing to wear the symbol above my head, in the hope I suspect, that perhaps one day my day will come and I’ll be really good. The Golden Torus is in fact, “The ancient geometric metaphor of unity. It symbolises the interconnectedness of all living things,”-  by Lorenna Grant & Alan Clark.

Australia’s good at preserving natural heritage with a twist. It offers much for free and deserves support and encouragement. If you’re visiting Walpole don’t just go to the Valley of the Giants, visit The Swarbrick Art Loop – it’s about 8kms from Walpole on the Swarbrick road – while Walpole itself is about 420kms from Perth.

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