Walking Barefoot Through The Forest

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forest-floor

Walking barefoot through the forest

Feeling earth beneath my feet

Sensing the softness of the mosses

the cold water from the creek

The rough serrated edges of the banksias dropped leaves

Form a variegated carpet with gum nuts, twigs, wind-scattered seeds.

Charcoal blackens out my footsteps

marking rock and moving soil

ants are following vibrations

Lizards runaway, recoil.

Birds watch on anticipating

A tasty meal worm or some grubs

That my clumsy human footprint

help unearth with every thud.

And in an instant I am it and it is me and we are one

walking barefoot in the forest

like we did when time began.

 

 

 

 

Survival of the Fittest or Cooperate and Succeed?

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I’m reading ¬†‘The Hidden Life Of Trees’ by Peter Wohlleben at the moment – I’m reading it very slowly as I keep popping my head outside and into the bushland to ‘check out the subjects’!

One thing that strikes me as fascinating is his narrative of co-operation and how that challenges our ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality.

Of course I accept that nature (even human nature) is most likely a complex mixture of both but why not elevate the concept of mutual success and prosperity? Why is it so hard for us to champion that as part of the narrative of success?

I only had to go so far as the middle of my garden to see this concept embodied.

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And no, this isn’t some communist manifesto it’s nature. Our nature.

Meeting Bruce Pascoe – Dark Emu

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In March of this year I read a book that changed my whole concept of Aboriginal Australia. Being relatively new to this country I was not surprised that I’d never heard about some of the things that Bruce Pascoe talked about in his book – the advanced agriculture, the fish traps, the bread making the villages – but it made me sick to the stomach to realise that almost every other ‘Australian’ was in the same boat (and what an apt analogy that is). ¬†These stories weren’t just quiet they had been actively hidden. ¬†As far as game changing books go Dark Emu is in gold medal position if only someone would recognise the cause! ¬†My review is here on my Fox Hill Hollow blog.¬†

When I heard that Bruce was coming to the Blue Mountains to give a talk I just had to go and hear the man in action.

Bruce told his stories with a passion grounded in a deep love and affection but sharpened by anger.  Like Bruce I feel that we have ignored the true custodians of this land for too long, we have buried their history under a narrative woven to suit Western sensibilities.  We have lied and been lied to.

There is no doubt in my mind that the world has entered into dangerous times. Indeed, I’ve felt the winds of change blowing since I first became aware of the state of things back when I was a child. That feeling of unsustainable greed, of despair and inequality. ¬†The reality that the world has been dying since before I was born isn’t lost on me and neither is my faith in her ability to fight back and she is.

After reading Bruce and hearing him speak I’m more sure than ever that our future lies in making peace with and returning to our past and there is no deeper, more grounded past than that which lays with Australia’s first people. ¬†So let’s hear their stories, feel their love, accept their guidance and save Australia from decline. And let’s do it soon as it is getting late.

Excuse the fan girl look on my face but it’s not every day you get to meet someone who is truly worthy of praise and success. ¬†Bruce, you are a good bloke!

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Amanda x

PS: Dark Emu is the name of the dark space in the milky way. Baiame is the creator of spirit Emu and Emu Plains is just down the road from here.  How very lucky.

 

 

The intimate layers of a forest

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First I saw just greens and greys

and then I saw the trees.

Then flowers showed their colours bright

but the pollen made me sneeze.

It took a while for me to learn

my place upon this soil.

But now I’m home

and comfortable

There’s no more¬†need to toil.

The forest opens up to me

One layer then another.

She loves me like a daughter

and I trust her

She’s my mother.dragonfly

This is a Swamp Tiger Tail (Synthemis Eustalacta) Dragon Fly found in my garden in the Blue Mountains.

 

Philosophical Teachings From The Land Where Time Began

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This book was gifted to me by one of my students.  Like me she has a love of Wirradjirri Country (which includes Cowra, NSW where our weekend retreat/ land stewardship project is), a connection to its rivers of gold, the soil of our ancestors and the spirit animals of our dreams.

It’s odd but I feel more connected to the earth here than I ever did back home and believe me I’ve been ‘home’ for a very long time. ¬†My ancestral line on my father’s side came to England from Germany long before events of 1066 –¬†the Norman conquest which resulted in an influx of new people into Little Britain (oh how I love that show). ¬†We settled in the midlands and were still there when I popped out over a thousand years later – we didn’t move much did we? ¬†My dad’s side were farmers, people of the land – many people were – and as such it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine that we ARE as English as the soil its self. We were born in that little farming community, grew their, died and were buried there. ¬†Yet I always had a hankering after something new.

I don’t know when I first thought of travelling the world but I do remember being at primary school and arranging a voyage around the world with three or four of my friends. We were to leave when we were 18 and would travel by boat to all four corners of the globe (well, you know what I mean). ¬†I was set on Africa because it seemed exotic and thrilling but¬†really anywhere would do ¬†– we just wanted to forge our own path, explore, discover!

That didn’t happen but other adventures did and in the year that I turned thirty I emigrated to Australia with my family.

Australia is a land of two stories – one that starts with Captain Cook and one that is timeless. ¬†It’s the latter that resonates with me and it was the land that I pledged by allegiance to when I finally took my citizenship pledge in October last year.

Reading Under the Quandong Tree by Minmia (and I know, the tree above is a paperbark) has brought me one step closer to understanding why I am here, why I love this land and why, in spite of being a whiter than white English girl that I feel my bones need to be here. It was interesting reading about Minmia’s vision quest as I too feel like I’m on one of sorts. Australia wasn’t my ‘first choice’ country, indeed I didn’t care for her much the first or second time I visited but life being what it is I ended up here anyway. ¬†Maybe that’s how all true vision quests play out – it chooses you, you don’t choose it.

What I do know is that I love this country , this timeless country and it is time that we all sat down to listen to it as everything we need is here.

 

 

Seriously, Literally or Both?

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The word on the street in the U.S of A is that the press took Trump literally but not seriously whereas his supporters took him seriously but not literally.

Which leaves me to wonder why so few people took him both literally and seriously?

Is that a reflection of our collective expectations of our politicians – they say anything to get elected but won’t follow through?

Or is it that there exists a powerful appetite for change and that any change has to be better than this?

Or maybe it’s neither.

It’s had me thinking…..

I still find it hard to answer the question ‘do you believe in God’ because I know that¬†‘God’ is such a loaded word, shaped by may things including our upbringing, our experience of the world, our aspirations and dreams plus what we feel is ‘right’. ¬†I want to answer the question both literally and seriously but often feel that people would rather me just choose one or the other and leave the interpretation for another day.

And so it is with Trump.

I find it hard and confronting but I’m inclined to take him both literally and seriously. As such ¬†I am not at all excited by the future under Trump but that doesn’t mean I was any more excited of a future under Clinton. Again, it’s like the God question. ¬†Yes or No, this or that answers just don’t cut it.

But here is where we find ourselves and so the next step is to choose how to react¬†and that’s something I’ll deal with when the time comes.

And yes, I do live in Australia but as events of this week have shown, Australia would do anything but question the might and power of their ‘special friend’ the USA even if that does mean bending their morality¬†a tad, not that ‘we’ need much encouragement.

Literally, this is serious.