How appropriate it is on our trip to the Kimberleys, a region known for large swaths of wilderness in Australia and breathtaking bush scenery, that I get the opportunity to appreciate what the Aboriginals have named forever the Emu in the Sky.
Focusing on not only the stars but the dark patches in the Milky Way, you can see the image of an Emu stretching across the night sky from left to right with the head of the Emu in the top right corner. Whenever I can I have tried to observe this but more often than not there is just too much light pollution. Also the Milky Way is not always above the Southern Skies in thi configuration.
Anyhow, here in the Kimberley, without any light pollution, it is simply an awe inspiring sight. There were a couple of kids from other families staying at the same station and when I showed it to them, they just gasped like I did. I guess you never think about seeing the Milky Way! One of them even asked if I could send him the photo so he could show it to his friends. I was more than happy to.
As always there is a dreamtime story that goes with how this Emu came to be in the sky. I share it below from what I could find.
During the Dreaming, a blind man lived with his wife in the bush. Every day he told his wife to go out and hunt for emu eggs for him to eat. Even though his wife tried hard to please her husband, he was always angry with her, telling her that the eggs were too small.
One day while she was out hunting, she came across some very large emu tracks. She thought of her husband and how angry he got, and followed the tracks all the way to the nest. She found a huge emu there and threw stones at it to get at the eggs, but it stood up and ran towards her and killed her.
The blind man became hungry and worried about his wife. He felt around the camp until he came across a bush with some berries on it and ate some of them. Suddenly he could see. He made some spears and a woomera and set off to find his wife. He followed her tracks and finally saw the huge emu and the body of his wife. He speared the emu and banished its spirit to the Milky Way, where it can still be seen today.
— a story from Papunya, Northern Territory