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.
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.
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.
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.
Somewhere deep in the Earth wombat sleeps.
I dream too, that the machines fall silent , the birds are Heard and we learn how to Live and Respect one with another.