if the tree falls in the forest does anyone hear ?

Yes I do , I hear it fall. Indeed I spent months some years ago in close proximity to the dismantling of a forest – smash crash and truck it away– hundreds of years of growth destroyed.

Once upon a time I lived on a blockade at the foot of Wandella Mountain. I am sure I had other things to do at the time and yet nothing seemed more important than bearing witness to the demise of a beautiful forest. It is true that at first we hoped we could stop ‘them’  that  they could become aware that what they were doing was madness, unwarranted and harmful to all life on this planet. Instead we watched our kin destroyed as state forestry with their big yellow machines, hard hats, fluoro vests and chainsaws cut down the eucalypts to feed the  wood chip mill.

The sweet water of Paddy’s creek riffling under the pinkwoods, lilypillies, vines and myrtles were a visceral remnant of the ancient Gondwanaland rainforest. Even this remarkable pedigree held no sway in the office of cuts, yields and quotas. To assume that the rainforest gullies, the brave canopy, the chortling streams could survive the assault on their cousins nearby was an insult to those with intelligence.

For years now state forests have not been healthy ecosystems. They lack diversity for starters, they lack habitat, and they lack life. From the highway it looks green and treed in the distance but in truth they are green hills of illusion that have spelt doom for the soft padded, the clawed and the feathered ones. They are so bereft of life that they cannot be truly named forest.

I know this because I have walked this land; I have watched the logging aka the clear felling, discussed and argued in an attempt to understand. I walked before logging and after, before they were hazard reduced by fire and after. I noticed the tracks of the wild disappear. I noticed the sound of vitality diminish.

Once upon a time I heard the Song of the Dingoes, now no more.

Living in this forest, home of the faerie embassy, small in forestry terms, huge in diversity, rich in habitat, lush with footprint, with feathered and clawed and soft padded ones, has opened my eyes ears heart and mind.

Through the lens of forest under the tall canopy in the shaded groves and sunlit ridges I listen to the Voices, the Song, the Murmur of Life Becoming Forest. I am the watcher, the guardian, that which listens and reaches out to awaken …….

The spider’s web, flying seeds, galloping vines, extruding saps, sweet berries, bush tucker and medicines –anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial – a rich pharmacopeia lives within reach.

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The expired wood cut and gathered into the house drifts blue wisps of smoke out the chimney, a meal is cooked, the kettle boils, the water is heated, the home is warmed, the bread is baked.

The orchard swallowtail butterflies are tippling in the garden, little fella wallaby’s now young adults come in to drink from the pot of water. Mothers hold the next generation in their ample pouches.

Last weekend Kingston John and I went looking for a staff for him and spotted several St Andrews X Spiders spread eagled within their webs. The shrill alert of the kingfisher told us that goanna was on the move.

Sometimes for no discernible reason a tree falls, in total stillness it will plunge from its great height to the ground. I go looking and come across its majestic grace nestling its trunk on the ground, roots offering hollows for habitation.

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Somewhere inside of each of us we are aware of the felling of the forests, the poisoning of  the land, the defiling of the waters, the violence enacted against each other.

We cannot separate from our brethren, we can only pretend to. We cannot ignore the injustice done in our name we can only pretend to.

But, we can enable each other to act, planting seeds of healing into the ground, into our hearts. We can notice the beauty offered to us by Mother Nature, we can show gratitude and offer sips of water in return, a little compost, a song, a listening, a story.

I sit in the smell of hot summer and rain coming, of damp rising and wind from oceans that circle the globe and the wild wispy seed pods flying hither and thither keen to fly, keen to begin life all over again. I can learn from this effervescence of life this keenness to Be.

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Red belly black snake emerges from under the veranda takes the time to warm up and disappears in the long grass. The native apple berries are ripening on the vine and a water skink is basking on the couch in a patch of sunlight. In this forest free from the states intention life flourishes going about its busyness. For this I am grateful.

 

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Somewhere deep in the Earth wombat sleeps.

Dreaming .

I dream too, that the machines fall silent , the birds are Heard and we learn how to Live and Respect one with another.

 

one million fish died

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February arrives on the south coast in harlequin dress. Wandella Valley is a farmers dreamgreen and our forest is lush. One moment bright glarey unrelenting swarming heat, the next dark and foreboding with plenty of action to follow. The radio cries out drought except in the far north where they scream floods.

One million fish have died in the Murray Darling River system. The drought and/or algal bloom is to blame ( they say).

not water allocations where water is traded as a commodity divorced from the Source.

not rice cotton wheat canola crops in marching monoculture order.,

not coal seam gas mining or fracking.

not land clearing and deforestation.

not two million people with flush toilets and air con cranked high.

not pesticides fungicides insecticides.

not politics, neglect abuse and profound disrespect

not greed or corporate sociopathy.

 

It is drought it is flood it is fire, it is out of our hands!!!

The sunburnt country carries a well-worn mythology informing the psyche of this people. We are laconic, battlers, lay back and resilient (they say) . If we are to challenge our future this past needs Re- examining Re- imagining and Re- defining.

Summer is swotting mossies in lazy languid thickened Air. Bodies sweaty,minds scrambled, emotions heated.  In the afternoons a few isolated grumbling rumbles that gradually intensify, peaking in slaps and crackles ear-splitting head ducking reflexes, with spear heads of lightning, blanket flashes and Rain. Refreshing cleansing restoring enlivening, The rain fattened with sea tales and high arterial acrobatics slams down in tropical bursts before wandering back to the ocean to fill up for the next afternoon session.

One million fish have died!!!

no memorial bunches of flowers at the sites,

no prayer or ceremony

no moments silence of farewell

no lowering of the flag at Parliament House.

If numbers are important to shareholders then surely this number is startling, deserving of our full attention.

Kingston captures a skink , places it in a container, inspects it with his new-found knowledge and ‘yes grandma it is a yellow bellied water skink.’

Haydee chattering and helpful follows orders (sometimes)  faithful sidekick to all that Big bro does.

Sunday morning early ,Kingston finds a sleepy skink on the verandah and corrals it in the wheelbarrow, building an elaborate network of sticks, bark and rubber hose. A jar lid with water and some biscuit crumbs.

‘it had a drink grandma, it had a drink.’

Haydee tears into the kitchen, arms waving jabbering the story at us before dashing back to get in the way again.

Wally the adolescent skink is released and next Wally is captured –older smarter, a real pro at clambering up the smooth sides of the wheelbarrow. And this is Sunday morning in the bush folks. The young king too busy with his day care centre to stop for toast.

Some cockroach lookalike is in the sink and I ask Kingston to remove it. Into the barrow it goes.

Morris the cockroach is introduced to Wally, preferring their own company Morris darts under a piece of bark. And then it is time to put the world right, Wally and Morris are released back into their reality and all is well with the world.

If only it was this simple folks.

We humans are explorers, curious powerful Beings capable of shaping and moulding the world in our image.

One million (give or take) fish have died in December and again in January – a lot of deaths on our hands . Both December and January had the hottest ever recorded temperatures. Perhaps the fish can’t take our ineptness anymore, our refusal to care, our addiction to materiality, our complete disregard of life other than the profit margin.

The fish may RIP but we cannot – until all Beings are accorded their inalienable rights we have a job to do, a Song to sing, a Prayer to pray.

It is respect we must garner, husband and enact.

Deep Respect.

 

 

 

Sylph Aware

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One day as I was sitting in the forest green

I felt a Presence albeit unseen,

it played with my curls

blew gently on my face,

rustled the leaves

took up residence in my space.

I heard a woman’s voice calling to me

a woman that I could not see,

She spoke to me loud and clear

I Am Elemental

I am a Spirit of the Air.

 

I am Sylph

I am Sylph Aware.

 

I am a voice from deep space

She said with a caress upon my face,

I want you to listen to the Sylph that you Be

and claim your inheritance,

some of which comes from me.

I am your existence

your most precious support,

I animate your very thought.

I’d like you to contemplate your Sylph within me

and plunge bravely into The Space that you cannot see.

 

Have Sylph-respect and practice Sylph-care

Sylph-esteem is Sylph-evident in the currents of the Air,

show Sylph-discipline in the eye of the storm and

embrace Sylph-acceptance as being your norm.

 

Come explore other dimensions

and Sylph-knowledge will grow

Sylph-control Sylph-confidence

and Sylph-love will flow.

 

I am found in the breeze

and the howl of the wind,

I am seen in the clouds

and heard in a hymn.

 

I am a Sylph playing in Air,

I invite you to join me and Become Sylph Aware.

 

*   from the Websters’ First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language conjured by Mary Daly in cahoots with Jane Caputi 

Sylph:1: one of the four Elementals : one of a race of Spirits who inhabit the Air  2 : a tempestuous, Distempering woman; one who clears the Air of phallic pseudopresence, creating free space

 

 

 

love is a feeling though no one is quite sure where it lives

 

love is an invitation

a celebration

a rainbow nation.

 

love holds no mass yet speaks in volumes

has no number though it can be an equation

is qualified but cannot be quantified.

bespeaks all languages,

influences all flavours,

and slips inside impossible situations.

 

it is a noun

And

a verb.

 

love is a feeling though no one is quite sure where it lives.

 

love is the master

the baby

the flower

the stream.

 

love is an explorer, a seeker ,a traveller

poking around market places,

in and out windows,

over pavements and oceans,

through veins and arteries,

creeks and rivers,

in the currents of air,

the roots of trees,

keeping rhythm

in heartEarth time.

 

it is confounding

unsettling

surprising

unseen.

 

love is a woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister,

humbly on our knees we offer grapes and service,

stuffing her pockets with laughter and light.

 

it is invisible

intangible

reciprocal

transcendental.

 

love is sacrifice,

an offering made with no expectation,

little chance of success

and a willingness to give all that we are.

 

love is truth and truth is not the opposite of lies.

it has no opposite

no enemy

no comparison.

 

love holds no judgement,

accepts us unequivocably

and whatever dark deeds we commit along the way

are shattered in its quiet brilliance.

 

love is not a fizzy drink or a chocolate sponge

not a bicep or a breast

not a child or a new car,

but then again,

in the moment it could be any and all of these things.

 

love is a possibility

a fighter without weapons

a teacher without a curriculum

a dog without a bone.

 

 

love is

a mystery

and we

the humble steward.

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happy new year

x

In one Day

 

Today the forest is a fluid rippling movement filled with song and activity. The second batch of swallows are poking their heads over the wall of the nest and will be flying soon. A gentle breeze swans through leaves and branches, the tin roof crackles under  hot sun, solar panels lap up the energy converting it into this capacity to communicate.

We are experiencing a heat wave which is a visitor that arrives and settles in for a prolonged often uncomfortable stay, impervious to the tensions created.

The young skinny goanna not minding the heat prowls across the verandah. The birds go berserk with warning cries at these nest robbers, egg lovers, eaters of whatever they can get their claws into. They dig up fish bones we have buried, devour dumped prawn heads, swallowing everything whole.

Mother wombat has done her job, the young one now fending for it self is often spotted near the house ready to bolt under the verandah if it gets a fright. I approach quietly with soft chatter watching it ponder my intent before returning to pulling up tufts of grass to munch on.

At Sanctuary Point on the St Georges Basin we sit beside the water. Ants welcome us crawling hopefully over body, plate and into the picnic basket. The water, ironed flat and mirror polished at our feet. Bush coats the edges with the occasional suburb peeking through. An elderly couple supped past us on their boards, waving several times. I salute them with my cup of tea.

Picking up the holiday vibes I buy a newspaper to be confronted by a picture of people queuing outside department stores for the opening of  Boxing Day sales. I learn Australians spent 2 and a half billion dollars ‘ buying stuff ’.

In one day $2.5 billion.  

In one Day.

I am shocked !

In a single day Australia with a population of 25 million has spent 2.5 billion dollars which is now on route to waste in land and ocean.

I step off the grassy bank into the water, shells and sharp rocks beneath my feet ask me to focus. Woven through the thread of voices, motor boats bumping, jet skis screaming,  is a soughing, a soft shooossshing. It is the Sheoaks on the shoreline, young trees skinny of trunk, their balmy sough spreads into my heart calming my irritated pulse and slowing my breath. Gentle slaps of waves fanning out from passing craft climb up my legs and depart leaving salty tide marks.

Mats of yellow weed drift on the surface while underneath creatures, coral reefs, kelp forests, mountain ranges intersect with the wrecks of our past, the garbage of our present. Our waste floats around presenting in fish, birds and our DNA.

I love the giving and receiving of gifts – indeed I enjoy selecting something beautiful practical quirky for a family member, wrapping it with love in old paper. This year I passed on treasured books whose time has come to be shared. In return I received a shawl and a skein of banana fibre wrapped in a tea towel, a box of eco friendly toilet paper, a meditation cushion, a temperature gauge for our soap making and a book of Mary Leunig drawings.

The new baby was welcomed into the family on the Solstice as we came together to share gifts,  food and our love of each other.  The young fisher king had spent a day with Granddad and brought home such a fine haul there was enough for everyone to enjoy fish soup and baked fish for dinner.

The baby managed to sleep her way through the melee of two 3 year olds, a 20 month-old hand-in-mischief with the young pirate king. Their easy innocent play written on their faces rising in squeals of pure joy reminds me of how precious is, this planet home.

I want them to know the soughing of the Sheoak, the claws of the goanna striking the verandah boards, see the baskets of spider webs hanging in the early morning mist, the yellow robin perched on the wood pile,  turtles basking on a log and feel saltwater clear vibrant refreshing on a hot summers day.

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

the nod for tomorrow

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the solstice arrested

the day went on forever

the night a mini tableau of dreams .

 

what can we learn this solstice to take on board? 

we love to spit chips at pollies, fire cannons at the corporate world,  demonise and lay blame at the feet of capitalism. how easy to cast aspersions upon another, how difficult to see within oneSelf .

I realise I am one with blame and conflict, anger and violence, that I cannot separate for to separate is to lie and this new story requires truth.

I have Response Ability for the past as much as any potential future – this I must wear for any real change to take place.

we’re humans, clever and creative, much like children confounding and full of surprises. 

we are curve balls, circles, ovals and many pointed stars,

we are unique moments.

how to yield to this moment, to trust this presence in which the rule book belongs to the old story and we don’t yet know the new story, but we understand we can do better.

now is the time for adults.

We are Response Able.

 

this is the solstice gift,

that at supreme moments there is a pause a full stop a gap in the wings .

it is brief it is cosmic and it filters through our bloodstream.

we can halt, count to ten close our eyes and breathe,

giving thanks for this moment of arrest,

launch our song into the ethers

wave our flag of unified integrity

and fire our arrow of love.

 

within this deep still place

possible tomorrows are lined up waiting for the nod

so here it is

the nod for tomorrow…….

 

may we humans learn to work live and play with nature

in gracious surrender to the spirit that informs us,

in humble activism to the bodies that we deploy

in loving kindness to each and every being.

 

 

amen

 

.

 

 

the miracle of life

 

Saturday

a baby is born into the family

a little girl

she comes early, keen to meet us all

keen to get on with her journey

to hear the summer sounds of cicada and thunder storms

of  koel calling and bees blessing the veges and fruit trees.

 

she is tiny as they are

a miracle

a reminder of the sacredness of life

of the mystery

of the opportunity to approach life with awe grace and humility.

 

Monday

the welcome swallows on their second spring nesting hatch out their next brood. they drop a broken shell on the ground for me to notice.

over elevenses we discover that they are inhabiting a new nest directly above the door, we look at each other – somehow we missed the building of this one.

I wonder how this could be and where we have been to be this oblivious.

Tuesday

it is a haydee day and we decide to pick her up and bring her back home. driving through the bush along the bottom track to the house John says, there’s something…  a bird

I stop the car and we hop out, peering thru the forest mass for a clear look. there is a huge white shape and then as we refine our eyes I catch a movement, a tilt of a head,  a beak and an eagle appears in full majestic splendour -a Sea Eagle no less. this is a Wow moment and we get very excited. At 50 or so km from the coast a sea eagle on a branch over the island dam is a gift to be acknowledged.

Haydee wants out of her car seat and we grab the binoculars for a closer view. while she inspects the sticks and ferns on the track chattering away in baby gibberish we zoom in for a detailed look.  a large dark shape flies overhead – a wedge tail eagle keeping track of the intrusion.

is this the foretelling by the moggy in the night that woke us from our dreams. we were jerked into awareness by the verandah door banging as if it was open and the wind had slammed it closed. I turned on a light and there was a cat staring in at us thru the glass. quickly it disappeared.

in summer we usually sleep with the doors wide open – will we end up with feral cat purring on the end of the bed or eating our faces asks John.

the earth tilts and sails thru the heavens and the summer solstice approaches.

christmas looms and present buying is high on the list.

Kingston finishes school this week and we look forward to a long summer holiday with some camping, cricket in the backyard, fishing and picnics beside the ocean.

like the russian dolls the world unfolds and reveals another persona another story another hope another despair.

we cannot escape the pain and suffering and yet when a baby comes into a family, a community, into a home of love and plenty kindness there is joy and happiness to remind us of the beauty of life.

 

 

 

this photo of the white bellied sea eagle was taken in gippsland by person unknown and apart from the foliage looks exactly like the still impressed upon my heart.

 what a world when healthy babies are born and sea eagles visit.

xx