Denouement

denouement: the final part of a play, film, or narrative in which the strands of the plot
are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

The ride southward toward Sydney from around Brisbane has had a distinctly different feeling from my Outback Ride. One can definitely describe my Australia ride as two rides: one through the desert outback, and one through the culture of the eastern coast. But I prefer to see my time in Australia as one whole ride: the outback ride as the main story of my ride, and the southward ride toward Sydney as the denouement to the story.

Old marking for a telegraph line near Oodnadatta

In a story structure, a denouement is somewhat like an epilogue to a story, but it is much more. An epilogue softens the ending of a story so that the reader can exit it smoothly. A denouement adds more details to round out the story, even though the story has ended. The details may be all together new to the main story (i.e. the facts have not appeared before), but those new elements somehow explain the main story.

For me, the ride southward to Sydney has been the denouement to the Outback Ride. So I am glad I did the east coast ride.

Abandoned siding on the Oodnadatta Track

Meeting people and staying in their home has been a fun part of the southward ride. That has been more exciting and interesting to me than seeing the scenery. (Although I did get to stay with some people in the Outback–primarily in Western Australia– most of the people who invited me into their homes were on the east coast.) And the groups of people come from different segments of Australian society, giving me a varied look at this land.

The environment is the least of the concerns

I also saw how the culture of the east coast is composed. Awareness and acceptance of climate change is more predominant. I was in the town of Bellingen on the Friday of the young peoples’ world climate strike, and was happy to see it heavily attended as the young people marched through the town demanding action on climate change. There is an awareness– and perhaps an ownership– of the ecological damage that has been done to this continent. Attempts are being made to correct such damage. I was, for instance, delighted to see hotline numbers to call if one sees and injured animal on the road; I only wish I had that number when I saw the kangaroo mother who had lost her fetus.

Sign on the east coast

At the same time, I felt– and beginning to understand– the distinct divide between world of the outback and the world of the coasts. Some of the people of the outback seemed to have a disdain for “those city folks” while I’ve heard some of the people of the coast say that “I could never live out there.” The attitudes of the east coast highlights how different the people of the middle are.

The Global Climate Strike gathering in the small town of Bellingen

I, of course, identify with the east coast. I know that climate change is real. I know we need to have a responsibility for the earth we live in. I have been an urban person most of my life. City life has been my life.

Community garden in Port Macquarie (east coast)

Without the eastern coast ride, I wouldn’t have seen in the outback ride the strong cultural sense derived from the hardship people have had to go through. They have had to deal with the environment viscerally (e.g. it is still an open world to be conquered) while the “city folks” deal with the environment cognitively– scientifically and with mental study. Both attitudes have been highlighted in one ride.

Empty cattle truck coming into a cattle station to….

I will have to go home and put all these thoughts together in a coherent fashion. For now, I am feeling the differences in the two worlds, both culturally and environmentally. What those differences really are (or are not) is something I will have to process when I get back home.

1 comment

    • Catherine McLean on October 4, 2019 at 12:19 pm
    • Reply

    So eloquent!

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