the silver perch story

in the time of creation dreaming -I placed an order for 100 silver perch fingerlings with a fish hatchery on the central coast.

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The blackfellas call this freshwater fish with a pointed snout -bidyan. They are omnivorous – eating insect larvae molluscs algae – making them suited to a dam environment.

Some 25 years ago we released silver and yellow perch into the island dam and the lily dam.By the time the girls were teenagers they were able to catch a fish for lunch.

I had promised the young king that we would do this together .so on the day the courier called to say the fish were in a depot in Bega I plucked Kingston John out of school early.

Where are you going? asks Oscar? Kingston shrugs looks at me . I tell class 2 about the tiny fingerlings in a plastic bag in the back of the car that are going to grow up in our forest dam. Asher calls out ,what sort of fish?

The young king is now eight loves fishing with granddad , drawing making books and cards and shields, riding his new bike, catching skinks, jumping the scooter up at the slate park, with a healthy natural curiosity about the world and every creature in it coupled with a strong desire to protect it All.

We load the box into the wheelbarrow and wrestle our way along the overgrown track down to the island dam. Thick mud attaches to our shoes smelling of deep earth. With scissors we pierce open the bags and shepherd the silver perch into their new home. There have been some fatalities, apparently they can get antsy in close quarters and start fighting with each other.

Kneeling we watch the tiny fishies dart about in the shallows before the rich dark tannin water swallows them.Kingston spends the rest of the afternoon exploring the banks  seeking out yabby holes, turning over logs and rocks and quizzing me – how long do eels get? what do they eat? how many turtles are in here ? how big do they get? until I reply I need a cup of tea and back up to the house we go.

I am not sure of the morality of this endeavour but I have chosen to take this step anyway. I reflect on our so-called rights to fashion the world how we wish even to wondering building the dam in the first place.

Every action we take has a consequence . How much is too much and where does the balance lie? The pendulum is swinging wildly and many of our activities are seeing the planet in a worse for wear state. How can we learn this balance and is it too late? While I accept responsibility for this decision I also feel the need to soul search …

Silver perch are listed as vulnerable having disappeared from 87% of their natural range with only one known ‘wild’ mob in the Murray River. Factors affecting them in the wild include the introduction of carp, the constructions of dams and weirs, the regulation of water flows, the demise of spring floods summed up as loss of habitat.

Kingston john tells me today he has so many pictures to make. On Saturday morning granddad took him up to Corunna state forest where a protest is happening to make clear that the logging of the spotted gum forest where a sea eagle nests and a masked owl lives is not ok with the people. He watched a man make a banner and came home recreating it.No tree no me it says. Some months ago he did a picture of the coral reef and creatures saying no mining and stop adani relating to the proposed mine in the Galilee basin that will damage the Great Barrier Reef . I don’t like adani he admits to me but happy to know that friends of ours are up their placing their bodies minds and spirits on the line.

Silver perch are fecund having an egg spill of 200,000 to 300,000 – spawning occurs in spring at the surface of the water in the evening. The male comes along and after some vigorous thrashing about the eggs are fertilized. The eggs go on a little drift before settling and hatching some 1-3 days later. We are told that they won’t breed in a dam environment but even so are thought to be a long-lived species.

One day in the future Kingston will come along with his fishing rod, his sister and his cousins. He will tell the story of the day he left school early, raced home with grandma singing ‘its alright little fishies’ to the sloshing plastic bags in the back then wheeling them thru the bush getting stuck again and again on branches and vines then getting stuck in the thick mud and finally tearing the bags open and letting them free..

On that day he will bless his ancestors, give thanks for the gifts of the forest , catch a beautiful grown silver perch and bring it home to share with his tribe.

On that day may we be forgiven our trespasses…

we are miracle makers in Bud

In physics transition means a change of an atom,nucleus, electron etc.  from one quantum state to another…

 

life is about transitions

first tooth to second

child to puberty

marriage to divorce

the now to death.

   Once upon a time I was a child who wanted to change the world; at play in a backyard with a climbable apricot tree, a passion-flower cubby, a swing that went higher than the shed and a playhouse big enough to have friends to tea party with. My father built it out of a packing case; it had three windows that opened and closed with Mum made curtains, a green sliding door I could lock and in this myspace friends and I played, acting out adult themes – teaching vet / zoo keeping  doctors and nurses domestic life and war.

               This was the 60’s and war was still very much part of our lives – war had taken off my uncles leg, broken the spirit of my friend’s father who sat in his chair all day long and frightened my parents generation who had been allocated rations living behind blacked out windows waiting for bad news.

                                         

          A favourite game was saving the world, imagining that the child come avenging angel would hold up a hand in front of the generals with their armies and say, Stop! do not do this. In my innocence with curly copper headed curls shining in a garden where boysenberries grew under the back hedge my voice quivering with real heart-felt emotion I truly believed I could do this thing. I could persuade ‘them’ to Stop this madness.

     At the same time I believed in magic witches fairies and the power of good over evil. This was the cornerstone of an ordinary childhood that contained no abuse. I was sent to Sunday school, lived in a house with pictures on the walls of Jesus with his long hair, smiling cradling a lamb or with children swarming all over him. I learnt to pray to God to help me pass my exams, give me things I needed and heal the people who were hurt. On some level I understood these notions were childish and that grownups lived in another world.

When did I stop believing? When did I realise that make-believe was make believe and that reality was well, reality?

Well gee, let me fess up –magic witches fairies and the power of goodness still hold sway in my worldview. I still believe we hold an innate capacity to change things.

In this reality I am aware injustice overpowers the Forest the Rivers the People, that it is not as simple as the childhood dream of,  Stop do do this.

In the name of civilization I am overrun with mad schemes of despoliation, exploitation, annihilation but even so this cannot deflect the power of the innocent child within who carried the adult I have Become.

Growing into adulthood I learnt to squash the whispers of the heart and divide the world into logical rational linear segments, to say compartments when talking of a forest or unnamed drainage feature when mentioning the perky little stream, and if ‘they’ had their way I would say terrorist instead of asylum seeker. Despite this ‘adult’ speak, despite solid scientific evidence which endorses that logging our native forests, mining coal, poisoning our food crops and robbing our aquifers is creating serious repercussions, despite all this knowledge still we are met with stonewall after stonewall.

In an honest attempt to bypass the heartless discourse of cold commercial gain when I write to Gladys the NSW state premier I heart speak – of love and grandchildren, of the Breath and Water of Life, of the Sacredness of the Quoll, the Bent Winged Bat, the Masked Owl, the Rainforest and the Elemental Spirit all humans share.

I have no illusions that Gladys will hear me, that Corunna Forest with its magnificent spotted gums will be preserved.

What I do have is a certainty that HeartEarth speak is a valid communication that goes to the root of our commonality, that through our shared connections we can impossibly possibly change the world.

In physics transition means a change of an atom, nucleus, electron etc. from one quantum state to another…

Existing as a bunch of atoms could lend us the idea that we inhabit many dimensions simultaneously – in our heads our hearts our offices our homes, in the wild at sea on land, in the dream, in spirit – and if so then maybe we can comprehend we are Miracle Makers in Bud and this is the Season of coming into Bloom.

The old world of logic and plausible deniability, murder and war, biocide and disrespect, is neither sustainable nor healthy for our bodies minds hearts or spirits.

Transition into a new paradigm which is more than a faint glimmer in communities around the world is arising expanding and including of all Beings.

Today we salute those that Do and those that Pray, those that Plant and those that Paint, those that Write and those that Build and those that know Magic Wisdom and the Power of Goodness.

in love trust and innocence

sandra