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.