On Anzac Day, 25 April 2012, we made our annual pilgrimage to a charming little place about half an hour's drive from Armidale – to the chapel at Gostwyck. Many people from round here do that; not necessarily for religious reasons.
Nevertheless, it is a place of worship, and services are held there regularly. But although the sanctity of the chapel is respected, most people, especially a lot of tourists who know about it, have no religious purpose in going to this little place.
Or perhaps I'm wrong; they do worship, but not so much a Christian God as the way an exotic Nature has clothed in spectacular garb, every season, what would be a quite ordinary little church. The Virginia Creeper covers it in shades of green in the spring and summer, and in autumn especially it becomes a mecca for photographers as the greens give way to multicolour hues of pink, red and purple. Autumn is when it's at the height of its charm.
I could easily fill this posting with images, but not ours. If you go here you can see a selection of photos of the chapel from every angle, in all its seasons. But the few you see here are ours, the tiny ones taken in late summer 2008. The two larger ones towards the end were taken by Tracey on this Anzac Day 2012. They are what inspired this posting.
We usually go earlier in the season than Anzac Day, because earlier is when the autumn colours are best. This year it seemed we wouldn't make it, and time ticked by. So, Anzac Day was now-or-never. We knew the last of the autumn colours would probably be nearly gone.
We got out of the car and had a closer look. Though we've seen it many times, it's not a place you just drive to for half an hour, do a circuit in the car, and go back home again. It may be past its best for the season, but it deserves homage.
As the sun dips lower, the light changes. The season has been a wet one, and there's greenish moss on the roof. A few Virginia vine leaves are still green amidst the variegated reds. There's an odd one amongst them reflecting gold.
The sun now lights the southern wall and somehow its brightness illuminates all the vine leaves and gives the chapel a soft glow, as if the large oaks have trapped the light inside the circle, the handsome green and grey stone wall in front drawing a line under the scene.
Tracey snaps the shot.
I don't expect it to be this beautiful. It's like it's decked out for a wedding.
Our very good friend Austin had a nice turn of phrase: "When Jacqueline and I were stepping out....", he used to say, indicating the time when he and his wife were a-courting. And he'd proceed to tell an engaging tale. (Not the one below; that's mine.)
Unaware of this and not having been told by She Who Was Too Shy and Petrified To Say So, I took her to the very top of these falls. This did not augur well for the occasion; nor, I daresay, for the stepping out, which had encountered its first hurdle at the top of the Falls overlooking the deep gorge.
|Decked out for a wedding....
We had no camera between us, but the memory is all the sweeter for that.
You just do.