the fates thread the loom

 

before new years eve……

thick smoke envelopes our valley

coats our tongues

slipping particles into the blood stream

rivers and dams collapse under the weight

of the hot dry winds and fierce Sun

forests have sent up smoke signals

all is not well

heed the children.

 

and then one day  Fire came

orange red  flames licking

gorging on grasses wood,

devouring the tree the spider the worm

those that could scattered

rose up into the air

some diving to ground trembling bodies pressed suffocating

others fled running  for their lives

some hid to be chanced over, others fried.

 

I waited at the house

in an outfit

I had carefully selected and laid out the night before

jeans and belt

pink woollen socks big boots

singlet, green checked woollen shirt

blue crocheted woollen beanie

thick golden gloves and a face mask.

the hoses were in place

half a dozen of them in snake formation around the house.

the job description was easy,

apply water

to verandah and under

up the poles and onto windows

even the walls.

water water water

next hose next verandah repeat

oh and stay alive.

 

strangely calm

waiting, watching the advance

creeping into the bush like a thief in the night

with  an almighty roar.

John in his red woollen shirt ,

hoody up and mask on,

starts the pump

water is running from every hose

the verandah wetted from the night before

but we hose it all again.

the gutters are filled with water

watching

a ring of fire at the dam

the shack goes up

a loud  whump signals the end of  Rebeccas BMW.

fire scaling up tree trunks

gobbling shrubs ferns grasses

stringybarks bush-cherry

angophoras red gums

snapping leaves leaping dancing cavorting

and coming directly towards us.

it  picks up pace coming up the slope from the dam

a wall of flame approaches the south verandah.

John is calm

he has a the high pressure hose

fire meets water and determination

water holds

John stands firm.

 

He built this house

made every brick

from the earth in front of the house,

it literally rose up out of the ground

one brick at a time

for over 30 years a family home

one that now rings to the tune of grandchildren,

blood sweat tears births deaths marriages

this house alive, pulsates with love.

 

inside smoke is thick

visibility zero

bath tub full of skanky dam water

Zoes woollen blankets a sodden heap on the floor

a good escape to crawl under to steady the breath

before returning  outside to the heat,

the inferno the hoses and water.

embers skipping onto the roof

making holes in the clear roof panels

curling embers meet sodden verandah and vanish

no burns on the boards, no blisters on our bodies.

a window cracks in the bedroom

the window where our mobiles sit to get reception.

 

dust soot ash and charcoal coat everything

charred trunks and limbs

a whole understorey has disappeared.

will we see now?

will we wake to reality?

our Planet home

our beautiful beautiful home

trying to deal with our consumables, our plastics

our fumes our anger.

too much she cries

too much,

forgive us for we do know what we do

we know

that’s the tragedy

we know.

 

some days after the main fire front had passed

trees still smouldering

roots deep in the ground  burning,

many elder trees are continuing to fall

walking on crusty black ash

the ground as if plowed up

giant holes where once a root system lived

patterns of ash like crop circles

skirting fallen trees

shallow breathing the air

smoky thick and relentless

visibility limited.

we leave our burnt forest

drive through a silent world

a charred smouldering valley,

some neighbours houses mere rubble

power poles smashed sideways

wires curling in chaos

cows dead.

We come to our village

half the main street has been smashed

this is my new world.

 

 

the tower has fallen

the spin of ideas and aspirations has tripped

been knocked sideways

taken a slam.

the Fates thread the loom

again

They weave

brightly coloured lights bounce from fingertips

glories rarely glimpsed

consciousness stretches

tugs

elemental energies dance

holding holding holding

while the tapestry is woven

the women are Singing.

 

 

 

It was New Years Eve

If I turn my back on the Forest now at this very moment when She is burnt to cinders and it appears that life has been extinguished, then I am not a true friend.

If I turn away now because it pains me to see the charcoal embers of my dream that has turned to ash in my mouth then I would be committing betrayal.

For this garment that She wears now; the Little Black Number, the ashes to ashes killer outfit is just another frock in the wardrobe of the life of Forest.

It is my call to find the Beauty within, to see the promise that is held in waiting, to hold true, stand fast, cradle the seed of tomorrows and acknowledge the whispers of renewal.

If I am a true friend, if everything I have ever said is to retain its meaning and integrity then I must stay observe and witness this phase of devastation.

I will croon sweet songs of lament and sorrow, of hope and resurrection to Her.

I will say thank you for revealing another facet of your mighty Being to me, for revealing the face of the Fire Goddess.

I honour your courage in Burning, burning standing, burning falling collapsing, giving all in the face of this onslaught.

And I who have heard your screams will weep hot tears of sacred water for your loss.

Your loss is my loss. Your pain is my pain.

Together we shall hold hands and gently tenderly heal our broken hearts, our broken skin, our blistered and fevered minds.

Together we will sing of a new life emerging, a new dance awakening. a new song singing.

This I have learnt; the roaring of an approaching fire is hugely loud , it is so loud that while it was still miles away it woke pulled us out of bed and sent us out into the paddocks to see the huge glow behind the mountains. 

I have learnt that fire dances ; plays with air, tussles with water and scalds earth , behaves erratically mysteriously, beyond our plans and ideas. 

I have learnt that humans are resourceful and brave, that our differences become nothing and over a fenceline the farmer and the forest lover can hug and cry together, pleased to see that each other has survived.

I have learnt that humans are kind and caring and helpful in times of crisis.

For all the creatures burnt to a crisp or asphyxiated I weep, for all that have survived and returned I rejoice.

 As the days go on there are turtles at the dam again, wallabies some not all of the tribe yet, there is rufous fantail and grey fantail , there is magpie singing the morning song and the evening song, the whip bird the kookaburra the wombat the boo book owl, crimson rosellas and yellow tail black cockatoos.

what will they eat? what is left for them now?

I pay homage to the ancestors guides allies , to the spirits of land and air and sea and fire, to the angels and wisdom voices ,to all that have supported protected held me in their embrace for all of You I give thanks and many blessings. 

I have a dream……. within this flame there is the possibility of Deep Change- effecting  renewal redemption salvation even – at the very least an opportunity to take stock  – to come clear about who we are and where we are – redesign how we think, how we build, how we create, what we need, what we can have, and who we Become.

x

a seamless dance

dawn mist shifts reality

softens tall trees shrubberies,

plants of food and medicine.

autumn rain launches the ticks

no larger then a full stop.

 

sweet morning Songs

whip bird, kookaburra, lyrebird, magpie,

tuning the vibrations of Air Water Earth Sunshine

tweeting of love family and food

tiny notes of living.

 

a red belly black shares verandah Sun

as kindling is chopped,

we pass each other in the garden

no blinking, no poking tongue out,

a seamless dance.

 

a cuppa with friends

David points to my leg ‘what’s that?’

pulling the leech off ,

‘a gift’

I place it in their garden.

 

red necked wallaby soft eyes alert

grass stem poking from its mouth,

my heart listens and waits,

a tiny jelly wobble of the pouch

another addition to the tribe.

 

goanna clambers onto the verandah

tongue waggling toenails clicking,

through the open doorway

crash bump and bang

unable to find its way out.

 

in the room where I sleep a grandmother died

her body laid to rest

beyond the dam under the red gums.

babies are born, daughters wed,

placentas buried.

 

before menopause I bled on this land

red mark on my forehead,

earth heart meditation

a sacrament for the Mother,

honouring Her.

 

forest life is raw,

immediate

the forest IS without me,

a miracle I adore

a moment held within every breath I take .

 

 

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the language of eartheart

 

political / economic language saturates our daily lives but it is our choice whether we speak it or not. It is a language of shares, investments, insurance, security, profit and loss leading to winners and losers. Words make stories in which everything is a commodity, measured in terms of productivity progress and usefulness. A language that denies Nature Feelings the Earth and Love.

The orchestra is playing. It began at dawn with great open bellied laughing, then slightly more  melodic tunes ,peeps whistles whips and trills until it is riotous in the sweetest possible way. The songs continue as I drink my pot of tea, eat toast, follow me as I meditate, dress, sweep the kitchen floor , brightly busily slowly, tuned in to the day they chirp cheep chatter and warble.

This symphony is full of purpose expressing vital news marking the patterns of their lives of the Forest around them; sunrise, egg hatching, a flowering, a seeding, storm alerts, approaching snake goanna human, matings, deaths, sunset, all is jotted in the Forest ledger, all a note played in the orchestra of Birdom. Everywhere wrens honeyeaters magpies thrushes pigeons tawny frogmouths, skinks wombats wallabies and bandicoots are communicating the Radiance of Life on Earth.

Thunder cracks open the swollen skies, runs away over to the Mountain and races back again. I am lying on the couch reading when the thunder and lightning Beings skip into the room whip crackling the air, chuck a bright flare of light and startle me.

Rain has a huge vocabulary, a vast repertoire of moods sounds and feelings . There is the song for splashing, for plopping fat drops, tapping on window panes, a pelting drumbeat on the iron roof, a windy slapping against the tree trunks and a gushing gurgling rushing flooding along creeks tracks and drains.

Some days it broods far above, squatting on the Mountain wearing  a grey beret. Cloud mist drifts around inviting the faintest speck of moisture on the cheek. Other days rain scarpers out to sea with barely a backward glance, where it visits Mother Ocean and shares a cuppa. In its own sweet time it returns to the valley rejuvenated committed to the business at hand and delivers a soft shower or a teeming heavy pelting drama.

Why would we think that Water is not cognizant, that Earth is not aware, that Air is not tuned in, that Fire does not know us? We are forged from the Elements , related to every drop, every breath, every molecule.Exif_JPEG_420

There is a Song for the ghost mushroom, the elder flower, pittosporum , titree, lavender  of scent and beauty , bee foraging , bioluminescence ,oils and medicine. I inhale , take them into my body – a draught of pure sun drenched essence Sings in me.

The dialect of frogs – croaks cricks stutters bonks hops and leaps in  communication with Earth and reed, Water and soft mud, hibernation dreaming, forecasters of rain and water quality.

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The ripe summer peach is a rich feltness in my mouth, dribbles along my fingers and chin singing of tree limb and bough, of bud blossoms leaves fruit and birds nests, sun, rain, wind and days measured in ripeness and angles of the sun and spiders that weave between branches , worms burrowing in the roots and squealing children that swing up on branches and chuck pips at each other .

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Hard working ants push up the soil – a drainage technique for them that informs me rain is coming.

Every Being has language, every Being shares their Story .

Stop !  listen and learn a language older than the stock market, older than open cut mines, older then human intervention.

This language of Nature, of Life is ancient, a lineage that holds Creation in its Song. One day we entered the story inventing our words / myths around the camp fire, Songs of respect and awe, humility and gratitude until we dug up the uranium, clearfelled the forests and greedy gobbled dry the rivers.

It was then we changed the words to deny Beauty . It was then we allowed fork tongue speak of rational logic to lock out the weeds and sunflowers that nod as you walk past, the cloud that stoops to peer in through the window, the dripping tap in the kitchen saying hey I am Water, we are Kin. It was then a Forest became a compartment and the share price of google was more important than the River the Platypus and the Child.

Now we are going forward determining outcomes while the Raven sits on the wire, keen eye piercing , aaahh aaahhh aaahhh.

Probably time to embrace the full embodied experience of connection, time to learn the language of the Heart that communicates with all Beings.

Time to come home.

Come back to Earth.

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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

 

 

 

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.

 

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