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

the children stand up

 

the children leave the classroom and take up position.

they have something to say.

are you listening mr prime minister?

they were diverse in age colour ethnicity religion private and public educated. 

their placards were heartfelt – colourful meaningful funny poignant.

they rallied outside government offices, on the steps of parliament, in their town centres and parks.  they numbered in the thousands.

the inspiration behind this action was Greta Thunberg a 15year old Swedish lass who in September began to protest outside parliament in Stockholm which she continues to do every Friday.

this week Greta went to Poland to the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Greta said “I will not beg the world’s leaders for change. I will tell them that change is coming whether they like it or not.”

recently two 14 year old girls from Castlemaine in Victoria gathered a similarly feeling concerned bunch and protested outside a senators office in Bendigo .

since then the idea went viral and actions took place.

at Kingstons school Amalia Grace Thompson 11 years old wrote a speech about two recent bushfires that deeply affected our community destroying homes and habitat. She decided to organise a schools strike 4 climate rally in the park in bega. 

Amalia said“Politicians should take action because they are destroying our world.”

Another student at the rally expressed it this way :

“So I’m always looking out for the latest things happening and how I can help. I want to do anything I can to help.”

and another young voice said:

“Not only are we destroying the planet, we are bringing on our own doom. We are capable of saving our own planet, but sometimes it feels like we can’t be bothered.”

and that was the future talking last week .

the children of australia stood up out of love, a deep yearning to see their world made right, a deep need to call adults to take responsibility , a deep awareness that we have one home this planet and just plain common sense arising from a keen ability to see the writing in the clouds in the oceans in the extinctions in the forests in the patterns around them.

the children call us to answer, to stand up and be counted and what can we do folks?

well if you are the resources minister you will say something like this:
“the best thing you’ll learn about going to a protest is how to join the dole queue. thats what your future will look like, up in a line asking for a handout, not actually taking charge of your life and getting a real job.”

followed by :
     “I want kids to be at school to learn about how you build a mine, how you do geology, how you drill for oil and gas, which is one of the most remarkable scientific exploits of anywhere in the world that we do,” he said. “These are the type of things excite young children.”

and if you are the prime minister you will say this:

We don’t support our schools being turned into parliaments. What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools.”
and
“We don’t support the idea of kids not going to school to participate in things that can be dealt with outside of school.” 

and if you were one of the children you would reply:

“If you were doing your job properly, we wouldn’t be here.”

or

 “We have to sacrifice our education, which is something we really value, so we’re showing them that at the moment this is even more important than our education”

the politicians of this country dissed the children, did not listen and judged them harshly for their feelings become actions. They demonstrated lack of respect with closed hearts and minds.

Could it be that lack of respect is a fundamental causative factor in all the ills besetting us – from rising suicide rates to ecological collapse to domestic violence to contaminated waterways – that respect is the missing ingredient.

 when we respect our Selves open our hearts and feel our love to each other to the rivers to the mountains to the soil the earth then we enter into a loving grateful creative relationship with all that is.

 

the children stand up .

will you ?